Happiness & Positive Psychology for Young People with Autism – author Q&A

Victoria Honeybourne is a senior advisory teacher, trainer and writer with a particular interest in promoting wellbeing amongst young people on the autism spectrum. We caught up with Victoria upon the publication of her latest book, A Practical Guide to Happiness in Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrumto ask a few questions about how it came about. 

happiness autism

What motivated you to write A Practical Guide to Happiness in Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum and who is the book for?

There has been a lot of interest recently in using findings from the positive psychology movement to improve happiness, wellbeing and resilience in children and young people.  However, I realised that many of the strategies advised were not always the most appropriate for those on the autism spectrum.  I wanted to write a book which looked at these issues from an autistic point of view.  The book is for anybody working with children and young people on the autism spectrum – mainstream teachers, teaching assistants, mentors, speech and language therapists, and parents.

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A comic book story to get teenagers talking about sexual consent

Age range:

Ages 13 to 18

Description: 

A comic book story that gets teenagers talking about sexual consent.  It invites them to debate what’s OK and what’s not OK and encourages them to consider other issues surrounding sexual consent, such as toxic masculinity, pornography and sexting. A set of questions and links to useful online videos can be found at the back to fuel classroom discussion.

Click here to download the resource

This learning resource is taken from Pete Wallis and Thalia Wallis’ new graphic novel What Does Consent Really Mean? which follows a group of teenage friends chatting about the myths and taboos surrounding sex and consent.

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Looking after the Mental Health of Girls with Autism

A Guide to Mental Health Issues in Girls and Young Women on the Autism Spectrum: Diagnosis, Intervention and Family Support is the first book to look specifically at how mental health issues relate to girls and young women with autism, covering theory, research and tailored interventions for support.

In this extract, taken from Chapter 6 on Anxiety and Depression, author Dr Judy Eaton explores the results of a number of studies into anxious behaviour in girls and young women on the autistic spectrum. 

Evidence suggests that an estimated 40 per cent of individuals on the autism spectrum will suffer from high levels of anxiety (Van Steensel, Bögels and Perrin 2011). Clinical experience would suggest that this figure is likely to be higher, particularly amongst those with the pathological (or extreme) demand avoidance profile. In an earlier version of the DSM, DSM-III (APA 1980), ‘sudden excessive anxiety’ and ‘unexplained panic attacks’ were included amongst the core criteria for a diagnosis of autism. However, subsequent versions of the DSM (IV and V) do not include this. The reason for this is not entirely clear. Hallett et al. (2013) cite the meta-analysis by White et al. (2009) which found that between 11 per cent and 84 per cent of children with a diagnosis of autism display anxiety. Of the 31 studies analysed 30 per cent were diagnosed with specific phobias, 17 per cent had obsessive compulsive disorder, 17 per cent had social anxiety and 15 per cent reported features of ‘generalised’ anxiety. Their results suggested that children with autism were twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders compared with their neuro-typical peers. High levels of anxiety have a negative impact upon education, social relationships and social participation and on other members of the immediate family group (Reaven 2011). There is also an increased likelihood that these anxiety disorders will persist into adulthood.

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What are the different forms of bullying and what strategies can be used to overcome the problem?

bullyingMichael Panckridge, co-author of Be Bully Free, takes a look at the different forms that bullying can take and suggests strategies that victims of bullying can adopt to overcome the problem.

Bullying is about power and the perceived need to gain dominance over another person either physically, intellectually, socially or emotionally. Research into the effect of bullying behaviour indicates that not only does it produce negative short-term psychological problems, but can also affect a person well into their adult life and even lay the foundations for significant and ongoing emotional health problems. Sometimes the bullying is overt and immediate. However, in many cases, the bullying is low-key and ‘hidden’, and the recipient may not be aware of it immediately.  Initially the recipient may think it is their own behaviour that is causing the bullying – that there is something wrong with them or what they do. When this happens, the recipient of the bullying tends to avoid being with other people and they use strategies to escape. This may include avoiding school, which can signal the start of school refusal. Continue reading

Counsellors working with young people often find it can feel like messy, complex work. What helps when counsellors are stuck?

counsellorNick Luxmoore, author of Practical Supervision for Counsellors who Work with Young People, explores the positive impact that good supervision sessions can have on counsellors who are struggling to break down barriers with young people in their care.

It’s Nikki’s first day as a counsellor and she’s about to see four young people. “Help!” she says, panicking. “What am I supposed to do?” Elsewhere, the girl Stephanie’s been seeing for counselling has ripped up a box of tissues and stormed out of the room, Marvin’s complaining that his counselling waiting list is getting longer and longer, and all the young people at Maggie’s school appear to be cutting themselves or feeling suicidal….

However experienced or inexperienced they may be, all professional counsellors are obliged to have regular meetings with a supervisor: someone with whom they can untangle the “stuckness” that develops in their thinking and relationships. Most are only too glad of the facility and most counsellors are able to choose their supervisor, someone who may or may not already have experience of working with young people. Continue reading

What is the science behind being creative and why are people with dyslexia so good at it?

Dyslexia CreativityMargaret Malpas, author of Self-fulfilment with Dyslexia, provides an overview of the creative process in a person’s brain and explores the reasons why creativity is a particular strength of people with dyslexia.

Click here to read the extract

Her book, printed on cream paper so that it is easy on the eye, is a very simple to follow guide designed to help people with dyslexia make the most of their true potential. Royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to the British Dyslexia Association. Find out more about the book here.

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Disruptive, stubborn, out of control? How can we tackle challenging behaviour in schools?

disruptive behaviourIn this extract from Disruptive, Stubborn, Out of Control?, Clinical Psychologist Bo Hejlskov Elvén looks at the psychology behind children’s behaviour and offers fresh advice to teachers on how to handle confrontation in the classroom. Referring to his method as the low arousal approach, he puts forward that it is best not to rise to the bait, but to act moderately in order to restore harmony and gain the student’s trust.

Click here to download the extract

With many examples of typical confrontational behaviours and clues for how to understand and resolve the underlying issues, his book provides an innovative approach to restructuring the teacher-student relationship. Click here to find out more about the book.

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Adopting older children; transformations of all kinds can and do take place

Adopting older childrenIn these stories taken from Ann Morris’s new book Adopting: Real Life Stories, parents who have chosen to adopt an older child reveal the challenges they have faced of accepting a child into their family who is more aware than any baby or toddler of their past. Admitting that the road can often be tough and that many placements do break down, they nonetheless give examples of remarkable transformative journeys.

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With more than 70 real life stories, revealing moments of vulnerability and moments of joy, this book provides an authentic insight into adoption. These stories take the reader on a journey through every stage of the adoption process, from making the initial decision to adopt to hearing from adoptees, and offer an informative and emotive account of the reality of families’ experiences along the way. It includes chapters on adopting children of all ages as well as sibling groups; adopting as a single parent; adopting as a same sex couple; adopting emotionally and physically abused children; the nightmare of adoption breaking down; contact with birth parents; tracing and social media and more.

If you would like to read more articles like Ann’s and hear the latest news and offers on our Adoption books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer, and please also tell us about your areas of interest so we can send the most relevant information. You can unsubscribe at any time.

‘It’s not fair mum! You’ve bought more Christmas presents for him than me!’

Christmas presents SpLDVeronica Bidwell, author of The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, discusses the importance of treating your children equally during Christmas. Admitting that children with specific learning difficulties tend to receive more attention than their siblings from their parents throughout the year, she reflects that Christmas should be used as a time to bridge rather than expose these gaps.

As we come up to Christmas I find myself thinking about ‘fairness’.  Am I being fair in the way I plan presents for children and grandchildren?  Is fairness to do with value, with what they want or with what they need at this particular time?  Is a scooter equal to a pair of pyjamas or a boxed set of CS Lewis’s Narnia books?

Children develop a keen sense of fairness and justice at quite an early age.  I think most of us can remember the indignation and hurt if things within the family didn’t seem fair.  Why did my little sister always seem to get away with things for which I would be told off?

There are things children want and there are things children need. All of them need love, time and attention from the important adults in their lives.  They need support, guidance and discipline.  They may need help with homework, in preparing for exams, in mastering a new skill.  Help may entail time, attention and resources. Continue reading

Anti Bullying Week: Adrienne Katz provides tips for keeping your school e-safe and preventing cyberbullying

cyberbullyingResearch shows that for many schools it is hard to keep up with the high speed train that is a student’s online life. New apps and high risk behaviours emerge at the same time that new Ofsted inspection requirements are outlined.  Only 45% of secondary pupils strongly agree that their teachers know enough about online safety, whilst Ofsted says that training for teachers is inconsistent[1].  So how do you address the fastest evolving aspect of a young person’s education today? Continue reading