You know the feeling. It’s dinner and your kid won’t get off the tablet. It’s time for school and she’s lying down with her favorite toy. The respite center that she loves is hosting it’s special summer event and she can’t be bother to get into the car.
Sound familiar? Well, it’s not unusual if your child is on the spectrum. The problem is that while today it might be heading to the places they love and frequent, tomorrow this behavior could have serious implications for be growing into a responsible adult. So what is a parent to do?
Recently, I received a review copy of “The Loving Push: How parents and professionals can help spectrum kids become successful adults,” the latest book co-authored by Temple Grandin, Ph.D. with Debra Moore, Ph D. This book describes that all-too familiar feeling you get when your child does not want to comply, even if it’s something they enjoy. Naturally, this will hinder them in life.
“The Loving Push” provides a practical guide to help parents and professionals foster an autistic child into a successful adulthood. The book starts with an inspiring beginning by sharing the stories of 8 autistic adults – restoring hope for a parent like me! Some are students, some are professionals, some are married, some have jobs and most lived on their own. Throughout the book, these folks share how they were helped by parents, mentors and professionals to overcome the obstacles that are common to teens with autism.
After meeting these inspiring adults, you teach your child how to:
- avoid learned helplessness
- learn optimism
- resist negative thoughts
- connect with mentors
The next sections deals with stretching your child outside their comfort zone, dealing with anxiety, and the problem of compulsive gaming. That last one is a 50 page chapter so you can imagine how important it is to reduce your child’s screen time as soon as possible!
The final section helps you prepare your child with adulthood, with an emphasis on training your child in 4 key areas:
- household skills (i.e., cooking, cleaning)
- driving or using public transportation
- educational & vocational prep
- social & community connection
Much of this book is geared towards kids with high functioning autism, but there is a lot of great info for kids anywhere on the spectrum. This is one of the “have at hand” books that you can use from now until your child is living independently and successfully. Through the informative sections on what to do for your tween, teen or young adult, there are snippets of real life stories from both parents/mentors and successful autistic adults to encourage you as you read.
What I love about it is that it doesn’t shy away from any topic, especially common pitfalls for autistic kids like anxiety and depression. While I do not generally endorse medicating children, Temple candidly shares how medication has helped her (albeit later in life). The book also goes into other factors that typically affect autistic kids in altering their mood, from junk food to irregular sleep.
My only critique – and you’re going to laugh at this – is I guess in the byte-sized world I’ve become super used to bulleted lists and yet there are few in the book, except for chapter summaries! I like my tips in that format, but I supposed you can go through and select the tips you need to make your own list.
“The Loving Push” is available in paperback for $19.95 at Future Horizons, or you can pick up the ebook, which is 48% off as of this writing ($10.42).