Read an extract from Luke Jackson’s brilliant new book Sex, Drugs & Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD): A User Guide to Adulthood

luke jackson

14 years after the publication of his bestselling book Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome, Luke Jackson is back with the sequel, Sex, Drugs & Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD): A User Guide to Adulthood and you can read an extract from the book only on the JKP blog.
Continue reading

Josh Muggleton’s Top Tips for people on the Autism Spectrum – Tip #2: Adjusting to University

In this series of videos, Josh Muggleton gives his Top Tips on various subjects for people on the Autism Spectrum. This month, he offers some advice from his own personal experience about how to adjust to life at university.

Joshua Muggleton has Asperger Syndrome, and is currently studying Psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He is also currently gaining work experience as a Trainee Assistant Psychologist. Since 2005, Joshua has been leading talks, lectures and workshops on Autism Spectrum Disorders and related issues. He has spoken to MPs in the House of Commons, and has appeared on the BBC, Channel 4, and CNN.

For more helpful advice from Josh, check out his video series of Top Tips for parents, teachers and professionals, and his new book, Raising Martians – from Crash-landing to Leaving Home.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

Free to Download! Creative Drama activities to help children with emotional and behavioural problems

Book cover: Creative Drama for Emotional SupportHere, drama therapist Penny McFarlane shares two fun useful activities from her latest book, Creative Drama for Emotional Support, that will enable parents, carers, teachers, youth workers and others to help the little ones in their care manage difficult emotions and situations.


Mr. Angry Man

Download the activity »

The purpose of this activity is to help prevent the child from being overwhelmed by his emotions. By encouraging a way of considering the emotion as something separate and outside oneself, the intensity is lessened and the feeling becomes more controllable. Mr. Angry Man presents a fun and enjoyable way of using this externalization and most children I have worked with have found personifying the feeling, drawing it out and then interacting with this character to be a novel experience. Somehow it seems to appeal to the spontaneous and whimsical in a child.

This activity usually proves to be more effective if used with an individual child in a quiet and uninterrupted setting. I usually start the session with some discussion about the ‘big feeling’, which sneaks up on him from time to time. We talk about how annoying this is and how much better life would be if we could simply tell it (or him!) to go away: the problem being, of course, that we need to recognize ‘him’ before he pounces. By doing this it is as though the child and I have joined forces against the ‘big feeling’. I am on his side!

Most children then find it easy to visualize and draw this character. Depending on the child and situation, the enactment that follows can be both entertaining and empowering for a child. As Mr. Angry Man I sneak up on the child who is, for example, just beginning an argument with his parent/friend/teacher and dissolve in a heap when the child turns on me shouting ‘Go away’. Again most children find their ability to control this situation, as epitomized by my reaction, to be hugely funny as well as confidence building.

The Two Islands

Download the activity »

The transition from primary to secondary school can be a time of great anxiety for many children. By creating an ‘as if’ scenario the child can explore his apprehension and find out what it is that he is afraid of. More importantly, he can also discover how he can help himself to make this transition by looking at what he may need to take with him, actually or metaphorically.

Many children, on crossing over to the future island and sitting there for a while, discover that it is nothing like as scary as they had imagined. Some children, having made the transition, do not even want to go back to the original island. I remember one child with whom I was working, having crossed backwards and forwards a few times, decided that he was even going to throw away the stepping stones as he ‘didn’t need them anymore’.

Of course, this activity does not only apply to transition between schools but can be used with any imminent change in a child’s life. It can also be helpful in addressing, retrospectively, a period in which there may have been numerous changes. With one little boy who had changed school, house and family on many occasions, we created an island for each stage of his life. He then sat on each island in turn and remembered at least one good thing to take from that island. Using soft toys to represent all the good things, he hopped via stepping-stones to his island of now. Surrounded by the toys and with a big beam on his face, he announced that he would need a bigger island because there were ‘too many good things to fit in’.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

VIDEO – Mindfulness Play: Reaching students on a deeper level, with Deborah Plummer

In this series of videos, Deborah Plummer discusses the careful construction of the emotional environment in which the games and activities in her existing books are undertaken, which she calls ‘mindfulness play’, and which is discussed more comprehensively in her forthcoming book, Focusing and Calming Games for Children.

A short introduction to mindfulness play
Here, Deborah gives an overview of her approach and some examples of what mindfulness play looks like in practice and how to achieve it.

The wellbeing model underlying mindfulness play approach
Here, Deborah uses the imagery of a house to explain the wellbeing model that underlies her mindfulness play approach.

Top Tips for facilitating mindfulness play
Here, Deborah gives her top tips for ensuring that the games and activities used with children have their emotional wellbeing at heart.

How to set up a space for mindfulness play
Here, Deborah gives some advice on how to set up a play space that conveys a sense of respect for children, a vital consideration in mindfulness play.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

Clare Lawrence demystifies the new ‘autism friendly’ approach to education known as Flexischooling

Clare Lawrence is a teacher, autism worker and mother of two children, one of whom has Asperger syndrome (AS). She works closely with schools across the UK, exploring practical solutions for how to make education more accessible for children with AS. Here, she discusses her new book, Autism and Flexischooling: A Shared Classroom and Homeschooling Approach.


Can you tell us what flexischooling is, and what inspired you to write this new guide about it?

Flexischooling is when parents and school share the responsibility for a child’s education. Of course, this means that all children flexischool to a certain extent, but it is taken to mean that the child’s education time is shared out between home and school. Perhaps the pupil will go into school for mornings, and be educated at home in the afternoons, or perhaps he or she will go into school for some lessons but cover other subjects at home. There are so many ways of approaching it, depending on what works best for child, school or parents.

It is a very flexible arrangement and one which, at its best, can mean that the child is literally getting the ‘best of both worlds’. We have been flexischooling with our younger child for the last eight years, and it has always worked extremely well for us and, I think, for the schools involved.

Very few people are aware of the option to flexischool. Although parents do not have an automatic ‘right’ to it as an approach, if they and the school agree that it is best for the child it is a perfectly legal option. There is very little literature available to help parents or school understand either the strengths or the potential pitfalls of the option, and so this book hopes to put that right.

Why is flexischooling a particularly effective approach for educating children with autism?

The whole issue of school can be a tremendous challenge for children with autism and Asperger syndrome. It is a demanding, noisy, social environment, and many children with an Autism Spectrum Difference (ASD) find it very challenging indeed. Many adults with an ASD will say how unhappy they were at school, citing bullying and social exclusion, feeling overwhelmed, anxious or even frightened for much of the time and that they never felt they managed to ‘fit in’ or to reach their potential. Curiously, in spite of this experience the same adults will also frequently regret the passing of the school years, in that school gave a clear and concrete structure and an opportunity for academic learning. Life after school has ended, especially for those who find themselves without work, can be alarmingly lacking in both structure and interesting content.

School, then, can offer a great deal to pupils with autism, but it also presents them with daunting challenges. Flexischooling can take the pressure off the ‘in-school’ component by keeping sessions in school shorter and more manageable. There is time in a flexischooling timetable for the child to recover, to go back over what was said or what happened in school, and to find ways to understand. There is the opportunity for the student to access expertise and teaching and also time to explore and develop his or her own strengths and interests and to use the focus that an ASD so often brings to advantage. It also gives both time and structure for interaction between child and parents. Attendance at school may be part-time under a flexischooling arrangement but education remains most definitely full-time, and this formal learning time can be a tremendous opportunity for parents to continue to work closely with their child with autism. Flexischooling allows school, parents and child to work together, as a team. In so many ways it is a thoroughly ‘autism friendly’ approach, and is one recommended by many autism experts.

What are some common obstacles that parents might encounter when trying to negotiate flexischooling with their child’s school? How can this book help?

Because it is an approach that is still quite rarely explored, many schools will not have experienced flexischooling before. It can take some time for the school to really appreciate what is being suggested, and this book should help to make that process more accessible for all. The book is not ‘anti-school’, and throughout it stresses that flexischooling is a partnership, one that hopes to benefit all the parties – the school and the parents, the teachers and the other students as well as most importantly the child himself.

What do you hope parents will take away from this book?

I hope that parents will take from the book that there is this ‘other’ option. For many children with an ASD the dedication of teachers and support staff will mean that full time school is a success. For others, their parents will prefer to withdraw them from the system completely and educate them at home. Both of these options are perfectly valid, and flexischooling is not designed to replace either. Rather, it is simply another choice to consider. When the best of school and the best of home can be combined in this way, and the expertise of parents and teacher shared, I believe that it is a choice that is very well worth considering.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

Josh Muggleton’s Top Tips for people on the Autism Spectrum – Tip #1: Making Friends

In this new series of videos, Josh Muggleton gives his Top Tips on various subjects for people on the Autism Spectrum. This month, he offers some advice from his own personal experience about how to socialise and make friends.

Joshua Muggleton has Asperger Syndrome, and is currently studying Psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He is also currently gaining work experience as a Trainee Assistant Psychologist. Since 2005, Joshua has been leading talks, lectures and workshops on Autism Spectrum Disorders and related issues. He has spoken to MPs in the House of Commons, and has appeared on the BBC, Channel 4, and CNN.

For more helpful advice from Josh, check out his video series of Top Tips for parents, teachers and professionals, and his new book, Raising Martians – from Crash-landing to Leaving Home.

Josh Muggleton’s Top Tips for Raising Kids with Asperger Syndrome: Tip #3 – Communication

In the third video instalment of Josh Muggleton‘s Top Tips for Parents, Teachers and Professionals, Josh addresses how to improve communication with young people on the autism spectrum.


 

Watch Josh’s Top Tip #1: Bullying »

Watch Josh’s Top Tip #2: Homework »


Josh has led talks, lectures and workshops on autism spectrum disorders, and has appeared on various major television stations in the UK and the USA.

Read a fantastic interview with Josh about his new book, Raising Martians – from Crash-landing to Leaving Home: How to Help a Child with Asperger Syndrome or High-functioning Autism.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

Josh Muggleton’s Top Tips for Raising Kids with Asperger Syndrome: Tip #2 – Homework

Before Christmas, JKP author Josh Muggleton came to our offices and recorded a series of top tips for parents, professionals and people with Asperger syndrome, all based on his own hard-won experience.

In the second video instalment of Josh Muggleton’s Top Tips, he shares some helpful advice to help parents, teachers and other professionals make homework time a little less painful for children and teens on the autism spectrum.

[youtube]tpRI2Pf_CYY[/youtube]

 

Watch Josh’s Top Tip #1: Bullying »


Josh has led talks, lectures and workshops on autism spectrum disorders, and has appeared on various major television stations in the UK and the USA.

Read a fantastic interview with Josh about his new book, Raising Martians – from Crash-landing to Leaving Home: How to Help a Child with Asperger Syndrome or High-functioning Autism.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

Josh Muggleton’s Top Tips for Raising Kids with Asperger Syndrome: Tip #1 – Bullying

Before Christmas, JKP author Josh Muggleton came to our offices and recorded a series of top tips for parents, professionals and people with Asperger syndrome, all based on his own hard-won experience.

In this video, he offers parents and professionals advice on tackling an all too common problem for children on the spectrum: bullying.

[youtube]_A2CqM9wrI4[/youtube]

 

Josh has led talks, lectures and workshops on autism spectrum disorders, and has appeared on various major television stations in the UK and the USA.

Read a fantastic interview with Josh about his new book, Raising Martians – from Crash-landing to Leaving Home: How to Help a Child with Asperger Syndrome or High-functioning Autism.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

 

Turning homework negatives into positives for students with AD/HD – An Interview with Harriet Hope Green

Harriet Hope Green, MA, worked as a school teacher for 33 years. She now tutors and coaches children with AD/HD at a mental health clinic and also maintains a private practice. She regularly presents at conferences and runs workshops to share her teaching strategies. She has co-authored four books on creativity in the classroom. Harriet resides in Beverly Hills, Michigan, USA.

Here, she explains how the activities in her new book, AD/HD Homework Challenges Transformed!, actually build on AD/HD traits to turn homework time into a productive – and even fun – experience for students and parents, and how teachers can adapt these activities to use in the classroom.


Can you tell us how you got into teaching and started working specifically with kids with AD/HD?

Teaching was my chosen profession since I was a young child who “played school” in my home. I created a schoolroom in my bedroom and as I wrote on a small blackboard, I “taught” all the invisible children in my class. I kept a grade book, took attendance, and sometimes did science experiments with water and the powder from hot chocolate mix.

In elementary school, I was selected to be a kindergarten helper. I reported to the kindergarten before school, and was “permitted” to put all the chairs in their proper places. Sometimes I straightened the toy shelf, or helped create a bulletin board. The most exciting day was when I could read a story to the children (as part of my reading program). I discovered how important it was to create an environment conducive to student success.

Other experiences contributed to my career choice. I loved to be with children. Babysitting was important to me. I was paid $.35 an hour. Student teaching allowed me to observe many teaching styles. My observations contributed to my philosophy of teaching for success.

When I first started to teach, AD/HD was clearly evident in the classroom. At that time, AD/HD was seldom diagnosed, and students who had symptoms were labeled “bad” kids in the classroom. Students with AD/HD faced negative peer comments, had special conferences, heard teacher criticism, and felt parent pressure. The more I learned, the more I worked to develop creative approaches that would help all students experience success.

When I retired after 30+ years of teaching in the public schools, I was offered a contract position in a large mental health clinic. Now I receive AD/HD referrals from the clinic. I tutor children with various learning challenges. In order to address some of the organizational problems inherent in AD/HD, I started coaching. That is how I developed many of the organizational games in the book.

I am often hired to tutor when a parent says, “I just can’t take it anymore.” The activities in the book were created while I tutored students. Desperate to help the student succeed, I would try many techniques. I kept a list of those activities that succeeded, and tried them with other students. Eventually, students started asking for certain activities. Then I knew the activities were successful. I also discovered that the activities were not just for young students. Middle school students (ages 11-13) also enjoyed jumping, using the microphone, and reading in a different venue.

My motivation for writing the book came from the unhappy, stubborn, school hating students I encountered in school and in tutoring. The home environment was filled with anxiety and anger. Hopefully, by using the activities in AD/HD Homework Challenges Transformed!, the explosive, long, frustrating daily homework scene can be transformed into a productive and even fun time of day.

Could you tell us about the five ‘E’s? How does this reflect your general philosophy about education?

The five “Es” were integrated into the book when I was halfway through the writing. I worked from my list of activities, and I began wondering why the activities were successful. Each activity is a vehicle to student success. The activities allow students to succeed because the activities are ENABLING, ENRICHING, EMPOWERING, ENGAGING, and ENCOURAGING. My philosophy of education is all about succeeding and developing a healthy self-image.

How do the activities capitalize on AD/HD traits?

The activities in the book capitalize on AD/HD traits because I use the traits as the vehicles to complete the task. The child is empowered to make tents, read on the floor, discuss emotions, and pop bubble paper. AD/HD students like to move, so activities include jumping answers, and singing facts, and activities that are interesting enough to promote focus.

Do you have a favourite activity? Which is the most popular with your students?

I love any activity that works as a positive force at homework time. Any activity that “works” is a favorite. I am partial to MYSTERY BOX and MAILPERSON ON THE RUN. I love these activities because children love them. The Mystery Box gives children a sensory experience, and students cannot get enough of the items in their hands. They wait patiently for their next turn. Eventually they ask to place a mystery item in my hands. I am always amazed how reading improves when the children make mail deliveries.

How do you hope homework time will change for children with AD/HD and their parents after using this book?

My hope is that homework time will evolve into a productive, calm time without tears, threats, bribes, and anxiety. I would like parents to relax and join in the fun. Activities acknowledge the importance of homework, and offer unique ways to address the homework. Often, the anxiety level of the student mirrors that of the parent. At first, in AD/HD Homework Challenges Transformed!, the homework time is parent dependent. My hope is that the skills and processes will become student directed. I would like all the negatives that are associated with homework time to transform into positives.

How could teachers adapt the activities for use in the classroom?

Many of the activities in the book were born in my own classroom. I taught for success, and continually refined any activity that “worked.” Many of the activities in the book can be used in any classroom. All students can benefit from the success experiences offered by the book. MYSTERY BOX can be shared allowing each student a turn, and most activities in STUDY AIDS would benefit any student. The chapters relating to academic areas offer suggestions for academic success in school, and at home. Every classroom can be enabling, encouraging, empowering, engaging, and enriching.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.