In the past, the Raising Resilient Children series has helped multitudes of families everywhere approach hard-to-discuss issues. Now, Dr. Robert Brooks and Dr. Sam Goldstein focus on autism spectrum with their new book, Raising Resilient Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies for Maximizing Their Strengths, Coping with Adversity, and Developing a Social Mindset (McGraw-Hill Professional; January, 2012; PB, $18.00), which offers parents guideposts and takeaways they need for children who have been diagnosed to develop social skills.
My two favorite strategies that Brooks and Goldstein discuss to nurture a “social resilient mindset” in your child are
Teach your child to learn from mistakes rather than feel defeated by them
Cultivate and foster your child’s creativity and growth in the face of adversity
The book features dozens of stories and its easy to follow narrative demonstrates how to apply techniques to foster resilience to every parenting practice when raising children with autism spectrum disorders, and helping them develop essential social skills. They provide specific, practical strategies for nurturing social skills and resilience in children.
One of the strategies that I was most impressed with was the concept of “bubble talk”. It’s a positive way to reach children that have a difficult connection as to know what is acceptable to say out loud and what can be vocalized. Using the image of a cartoon and a thought ‘bubble’ over the character’s head, the child is engaged at home with scenarios in which they can decide in a safe environment what they should keep in “bubble talk” and what they can say aloud.
Children love to help and receive praise, and Brooks and Goldstein illustrate how we can build upon those feelings of worth and introduce resilience in our children by uplifting them in areas that they are competent in. This is even more true in families where there may only be one autistic child, and the siblings all feel unequally pressured to live up to expectations that they feel unfair – even if the parents are unaware of it.
What’s interesting about this book is, although it is written to parents and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum, its advice and techniques can be used just as effectively for children who aren’t on the spectrum. Many of the challenges that are illustrated in the book are not exclusive to any one child or diagnoses.
Testimonials of the families will show that parenting a child with autism on a good day can be frustrating and on a bad day it can feel like sheer hopelessness. It’s not about being a bad parent, it’s about understanding where your child is at – and through this book, Drs Brooks and Goldstein will help you be the empathic parent your child needs, whether they’re on or off the spectrum.
Raising Resilient Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Dr. Robert Brooks and Dr. Sam Goldstein is available at book retailers and online.
I received a copy of this book to review.