This is the first draft of the preface for the e-book I am writing. Let me know your opinions and comments!
Do you want to learn methods to help your high functioning* autism spectrum child flourish? You have come to the right place! I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and I have been working with children, adolescents and their families for almost thirty years. For the past ten years, I have been specializing in working with families affected by autism spectrum disorders, and have used the strategies in this e-book to help hundreds of families. Each child on the autism spectrum is highly unique, yet the issues that bring families to seek advice are remarkably similar.
Do any of these concerns sound familiar?
My child is having meltdowns several times a week.
My child doesn’t follow instructions, and needs numerous reminders to complete any task.
My child is lonely and can’t make or keep friends.
My child argues and debates constantly.
My child is bossy towards the other children in our family and we have to keep reminding her that we are the parents.
My child is being bullied or teased at school.
There are problems with aggression.
We don’t know how to explain the diagnosis. We know another child with autism but he is so different from our son.
My child can’t write reports or essays.
My child won’t stop talking about her special interest and I feel like I’m going crazy.
My child forgets to turn in his homework and doesn’t keep track of his assignments.
Our mornings are nightmares!
My child doesn’t brush his teeth or hair.
I can’t get my child to turn off the video game console without a terrible fight.
Will my child be able to drive and get a job?
Flourish, as it pertains to this book, means “a person growing or developing in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.” As the parent, you are the one who can create that particularly favorable environment to help your autism spectrum child grow or develop in the most healthy or vigorous way. By using the strategies in this e-book, you can set up your home environment to reduce stress and conflict and to maximize optimal development, ensuring that your autism spectrum child reaches his or her full potential. That is, you can help your child to flourish!
The strategies in this book are change strategies, focusing on improving the quality of life for autism spectrum children and teens who are struggling in some way and whose families are trying to create a more optimal environment for them. However, that does not mean that I believe that all autism spectrum differences are problems or that all autism spectrum differences can or should be changed. I believe that each family affected by autism needs to find their own middle path between acceptance and change strategies. Some qualities of children on the spectrum are unlikely to change, and our best approach will be to love and accept, and appreciate those qualities. The same approach applies for those children who are neurotypical.* The parents of a neurotypical child may seek help for advice for improving (changing) the quality of life for their son or daughter, but those parents still fundamentally accept the child and realize that certain qualities of the child will continue throughout the life span. My goal as a therapist is to use treatment methods that best support the developing autism spectrum child, in such a way that they will flourish. This e-book focuses on sharing those methods.
*”High functioning,” in the autism spectrum world, refers to autism spectrum individuals who have good language skills and are functioning in the average (to sometimes above average) range of intellectual functioning. As a psychotherapist who works in an outpatient setting, these are the children and teens I have developed expertise helping. Many, but not all, of the methods I describe in this e-book would also help nonverbal and/or “low functioning” individuals. Because of this focus on high functioning children and teens, I do not address methods for developing language skills in this e-book.
*The word “neurotypical,” which you will sometimes see referred to as “NT,” means that the person is not on the autism spectrum.
Copyright 2012 Barbara R.Lester LCSW.