Drawing on 30 years of professional experience and detailed research, Difference Not Disorder: Understanding Autism Theory in Practice exposes the myths around autism and provides practical guidance on teaching and learning, behaviour management, addressing sensory and physical needs of children with ASD.
Difference Not Disorder
Our recognition and understanding of autism forms a recent story in terms of human knowledge. In my lifetime this story gained momentum, hastening to the current perception of autism as neurological in nature. However, across the globe this neurological nature, viewed at-odds with the neuro-typical one, is considered impaired or disordered. The over-arching aim of this book was to question this assumption while posing an alternative view of difference not disorder because of all the children I had the honour to work with, children with autism were some of the bravest.
There are limitless ways in which I witnessed their bravery. They included venturing every day out into a world with incomprehensible social rules and codes in which lack of or inappropriate response could result in unwelcome, verbal attention or even confusing reprimand. It also included perpetually manoeuvring through sights, sounds and textures that could overwhelm and/or aggravate the senses often without being able to express mounting stress and distress; and/or experiencing revulsions towards some tasks but compulsions towards others in situations where you had no idea of the duration or scheduling of either.
New book Talking With Your Child About Their Autism Diagnosis is a guide to aid discussion and understanding between parents and children. In this blog, edited and adapted from Chapter 3 of the book, author Raelene Dundon breaks down the reasons why she recommends being open and honest with your child about autism.
Is it important to tell a child they have autism? Do they need to know? Will they figure it out for themselves? What does the future look like if they don’t know?
These are questions that parents of children with autism may ask themselves many times from the time their child receives their diagnosis, and the answer is not a straightforward one. Depending on who you talk to, there are different opinions on whether it is necessary to tell your child about their autism or not.
When writing the text for What are you staring at?, a graphic novel about restorative justice in a school setting, I couldn’t resist taking a side-swipe at the antiquated system of school detentions, as a repost to the endlessly repeated rhetoric calling for ‘discipline’ to be brought back into the nation’s schools. By pointing out that more often than not, slapping a detention on a young person for wrong-doing is actively counterproductive, I hope to illustrate how ineffective a punitive system is for resolving behavioural issues or engendering self-discipline within a school community. In one of Joseph Wilkins’ most evocative images, our protagonist, Jake, is seen sitting alone in a large classroom. He is serving a detention for punching Ryan, a pupil in the year below, and we see him simmering with anger and resentment at the injustice of it all. At this point in the book, no one has taken the trouble to tease out the story behind his violent behaviour, and because the punishment hurts (as it is designed to) he is minded to take revenge on the very person he harmed in the first place – namely the innocent Ryan – for being the ongoing cause of his pain. Precious little scope there for reflection, understanding, resolution or healing. Continue reading
Diana Hudson, author of Specific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know, looks at the common challenges that children with ADHD may present in the classroom, and suggests ways that teachers can help them to stay focused and get the most out of their lessons.
Sensitive teachers can make a huge difference to the happiness, confidence and academic success of children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Continue reading
In this chapter from The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, Veronica Bidwell looks at the important role parents can play in supporting the learning of their child with dyslexia. Looking at the kind of difficulties typically experienced at different ages and stages of development, she provides some very reassuring and useful advice.
Click here to download the extract
Packed full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, her book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), ranging from poor working memory, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, through to ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), Specific Language Impairment and Visual Processing Difficulty. Veronica is an Educational Psychologist with expert knowledge of Specific Learning Difficulties. She has been involved in education for over 30 years working with mainstream and special schools. She has run a leading independent Educational Psychology Service and has assessed many hundreds of pupils and provided advice and support to pupils, parents and teachers. Click here to find out more about her book.
In this article Veronica Bidwell, author of The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, explains the numerous ways that teachers and parents can support the learning of children with dyslexia. She suggests adopting a holistic approach that engages all the body’s senses, examining the bigger picture before delving into the subject matter and recapping little and often with the aid of memory gadgets. Packed full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, her book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), ranging from poor working memory, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, through to ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), Specific Language Impairment and Visual Processing Difficulty.
In an interview on Woman’s Hour this week Jo Malone, the brilliant fragrance queen, talked about her life and how she built and sold a multi-million pound company, battled cancer and then built up her new company, Jo Loves.
Jo mentioned her failure to succeed in school and the fact that she had left with no qualifications whatsoever. This, happily for the rest of us, did not deter the entrepreneur. Her fragrant oils, creams, candles, colognes and perfumes are loved and have made her a household name.
Entertainer, actor and singer Brian Conley reveals the difficulties that dyslexia presented him with at school growing up, and how he channelled his dyslexia to work out what he was good at. Harnessing the ‘visual’ way of thinking that comes with it, he now looks on his dyslexia ‘as a total gift’.
Click here to download his story
Filled with first-person stories contributed by well-known people from the arts, sports and business worlds, this inspiring book proves that dyslexia doesn’t have to be a barrier to success. Indeed, it can bring with it the determination, creativity and outlook needed to achieve all we want in life.
Darcey Bussell CBE, Eddie Izzard, Sir Richard Branson, Zoe Wanamaker CBE, Mollie King, Benjamin Zephaniah, Steven Naismith, Lynda La Plante CBE, Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, Chris Robshaw and others share their stories and advice. A percentage of profit from the book is donated to Dyslexia Action. To find out more about Creative, Successful, Dyslexic click here.
We spoke to Lisa Carne about her experience of moving her two children from mainstream schooling to home education, and learning through the lens of nature and natural history. Lisa is the author of Natural Curiosity, a warm and contemplative book that touches upon important themes in education and environmentalism, including children’s rights in schooling, the use and place of technology in learning and the absence of the natural world in mainstream education. It gives a considered, balanced view of home schooling interspersed with entertaining tales, and offers an understanding of how this type of education works and what inspires the choice to pursue it. Continue reading
Natural Curiosity is a warm and contemplative insight into one family’s experience of moving from mainstream schooling to home education, and learning through the lens of nature and natural history.
Since becoming “unschooled”, the author’s two children have thrived on a diet of self-directed play and learning, amassing life skills, confidence, responsibility and a vast array of knowledge along the way. This thoughtful book touches upon important themes in education and environmentalism, including children’s rights in schooling, the use and place of technology in learning and the absence of the natural world in mainstream education. It gives a considered, balanced view of home schooling interspersed with entertaining tales, and offers an understanding of how this type of education works and what inspires the choice to pursue it.
>>Click here to download the extract<<