Raising your resilient child
As always, I continue to seek strengths focused books to help my clients living on the Autism Spectrum.
This week’s highlight is Raising Resilient Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies for helping them maximize their strengths, cope with adversity, and develop a social mindset by Robert Brooks, PhD and Sam Goldstein, PhD.
This booked is packed with years of experience, research, and a firm understanding of both resilience and Autism Spectrum. If you are a parent, you will see yourself clinical examples. Some stunning examples include parents struggling with the cognitive diversity found in ASD. For example: your child can memorize anything, but why can’t he remember to greet people. If you are a therapist, you will hear some advanced ways to navigate the very real struggles for parents, including examples of providing empathy, asking parents to change how they interact with their child, and celebrating success of children and parents alike.
I particularly liked the examples of parents struggling to teach empathy to their children. The authors have parents reflect on their own behaviors, asking “How you would child describe you right now?” Eek. Parents are encouraged to teach empathy by joining with their child in an empathic manner, working from within the system of understanding.
Some of the book looks at “willful” or challenging behaviors, and helping caregivers to understand that children with ASD are not generally trying to provoke their parents with their rigid behaviors, they are trying to cope. Other chapters really look to adults/parents to modify their understanding of their child, see the inherent strengths their children bring to the table, and use the strengths to facilitate friendships and connection. As adults, we can help reduce stress, and reduce the coping (rigid) behaviors with empathy, understanding, and teaching of skill, and also by seeing the strengths in ourselves and others.
This book nicely balances clinical examples with research. These authors have been working with children and families for decades, so they know the subject! I particularly liked the strengths based focus. One chapter is titled “Accepting our Children for who they are: Conveying unconditional love and setting realistic expectations,” a lesson that can also be extended to ourselves (Accepting ourselves with unconditional love…).
If you would like help with empathy (teaching or learning!), please contact me. I’d be happy to help you on your journey.