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Book Review: Social Skills for Teenagers and Adults With Asperger Syndrome

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Social Skills for Teenagers and Adults With Asperger Syndrome
Cover image courtesy of Jessica Kingsley Publishers

The Bottom Line

by Nancy J. Patrick; 208 pages. Subtitle: A Practical Guide to Day-to-Day Life

If your child has a hard time understanding the unspoken, contradictory, and ever-changing ways of social humans, this book may have something to offer, whether there's a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome or not. It gives calm, logical, specific, and practical steps to understanding where other people are coming from, and how conversations need to go. The journal at the end helps put your young person in charge of the change.

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Pros

  • Breaks down complicated situations with step-by-step suggestions.
  • Ideas are addressed directly to the young person in need.
  • Respects neurodiversity and different ways of seeing things.
  • Lists adaptive technology that can help.
  • Journal offers young people a way to take charge of the problem and gain self-awareness.

Cons

  • The introduction should probably have been a chapter, lest people skip over the good material there.
  • Your child has to want to make those connections for this material to be really effective.
  • Might have been useful to put journal items in the chapters where they're discussed.

Description

  • Introduction: Asperger Syndrome and the Experiences of Teens and Adults
  • Chapter 1: A Social World
  • Chapter 2: Friends and Family
  • Chapter 3: Health and Medical
  • Chapter 4: Living Arrangements
  • Chapter 5: Education, Training, and Employment
  • Chapter 6: Adaptive Tools
  • My Journal
    Glossary

Guide Review - Book Review: Social Skills for Teenagers and Adults With Asperger Syndrome

If you've ever sat with your child, talked through a difficult situation, made a list of options, practiced responses, you'll recognize the style of this helpful handbook to social stress situations. Written by a professor of special education who's also the mom of a child on the autism spectrum, Social Skills for Teenagers and Adults With Asperger Syndrome offers the sort of calm, careful, thought-through advice you'd give your own kid if you could anticipate problems and shortcomings.

Author Patrick starts by explaining all the ways in which communication can go awry for kids with Asperger's (and plenty of kids with pragmatic language problems, too), then looks at how these relate to social skills. From there, the book addresses general areas of trouble -- relationships, work, school, healthcare -- and breaks them down into more specific situations and scenarios with steps to tackle each. It's a practical approach, and depending on your child's maturity level you can either read it and talk it through together, or pass it on for your young person to use on his or her own.

One area that will be your child's responsibility to tackle is "My Journal," a section at the end full of questionnaires and worksheets for figuring out strengths and weaknesses. It's great for helping kids take charge of their transformations. Of course, your child is going to have to be motivated to make a change, which some kids will be and some kids will not. How much you'll have to push depends on how much social problems are interfering with school, employment, and healthy living. The book will at least give you some ideas on what your young person may be experiencing, and help you decide where your encouragement and precautions are most needed.

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