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The Self-Help Guide for Special Kids and their Parents [Paperback]

Joan Matthews , James Williams
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £18.99
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Book Description

1 Jun 2000
James Williams is an SP or special person - was diagnosed with autism during early childhood. His mother, Joan Matthews, is an NP or normal person. As James grew up, his different perception of the world and the lack of understanding from NPs created problems. Together, James and his mother met the challenges with ingenuity and humour. One day, while taking a walk, they decided to write a book of their practical solutions. Covering a range of issues, from eye sensitivity, to knowing how far away to stand from other people, to being polite when someone is crying, James and Joan's book describes the problems that an SP may face, and the solutions which they have found to work successfully. Pervaded by their caustic humour and common sense, this book should be useful to other SPs and their families both as a source of advice and an account of how it feels to be an SP.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (1 Jun 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853029149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853029141
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,307,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When one normal person comes up to another normal person and says 'Hello,' the first NP expects the second NP to make eye contact, smile, feel good that someone is talking to him, then say hello back. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meeting One Another Halfway - NT and a/A 9 July 2005
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
James Williams is an extraordinarily bright, articulate and well-rounded young man who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. James, whose inspiring story is featured in "Dancing in the Rain" and "The Sound of Falling Snow" by Annabel Stehli offers further insights to having autism; coping with it and how families work together. This is one of the best books I have come across in a/A literature and it is an invaluable resource tool.
I was impressed with the way James explained how he developed an interest in learning to knit and how soothing he found this activity. He also developed an interest in the American Girls Series, bravely jumping the Gender Bias Barrier to emphasize how one group is usually treated as an underclass at the expense of another (or others).
I loved it when James addresses the very real problem of the word "perseverate" in any tense. He threw down the gauntlet on this harmful word in "The Sound of Snow Falling." It is truly a damning, negative and destructive word that is best avoided. "Repetitive behavior / verbalizations" is a preferable replacement and certainly shows more tolerance and is far more accurate. James rightfully points out that overtly autistic behaviors such as lining up items could be the precursor to a talent in draftsmanship and architechture and mathematics. Each "special interest," by far a more tolerant and accurate term than the judgmental "perseverate" ever was, can segue into a rewarding interest and possibly career. James speaks to hope and potential and his story is a strong beacon of hope.
James does an exemplary job of explaining how confusing the Tacit Social Codes & Rules are. For many people on the autism/Asperger (a/A) spectrum, the rules seem to change on a whim, based on the needs of the neurotypical (NT) population.
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By dmcnabb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on recommendation from my sons portage worker. My 3 1/2 year old was diagnose almost a year and a half ago and at the time we had questions about everything. She suggested a few books that offered solutions and coping techniques.
The book goes through a lot of problem and solution scenarios - some of the problems focus around habits of those on the spectrum - obsession with numbers, Order, time etc. there's also sensitivity to noise, food, smells etc, toilet training advice, speech, manners and coping techniques that are a bit more for older children (ie bullies, connecting with people, making friends etc). Some of the solutions aren't great - ie toilet training - which is huge is two pages long, one page written by the mother from the child's perception (as much of the problem parts of the book are). The book basically says why the child struggled to understand or fears using the toilet, to be patient and keep trying - as I am toilet training at the minute (or desperately trying to!) I can say in that respect it's offered me nothing. I got a book from my portage worked called "toilet training of individuals with autism & related disorders" by Maria wheeler which I have found far more useful - it goes through how to tell when a child is ready, how to approach it, cues, rewards, moving on etc. if you're looking for a book on toilet training - get the book by Maria wheeler, in my opinion it's much much better. Some solutions are so weird or are not explained well by what they mean - ie hating water (in respect to drinking it) the solution was to learn to swallow pills and to basically bribe them or keep trying different kinds of water.
Some areas - like obsessions are good and I find useful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, revealing, intense, and right on target! 8 Sep 2000
By Shannon Ahern - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wish every parent of an autistic (or AS or PDD or SID or ADHD) child would read this book. I find myself constantly trying to explain to people how/why my son behaves the way he does. I've understood to some degree right from the beginning (having shadow AS dx myself), but this just brings it all into unbelievable focus. Especially for all those parents who pointlessly physically punish their children for behaviors that are neurologically-based, not attitude-based, this book is/would be a real eye-opener.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meeting One Another Halfway - NT & a/A 9 July 2005
By BeatleBangs1964 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
James Williams is an extraordinarily bright, articulate and well-rounded young man who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. James, whose inspiring story is featured in "Dancing in the Rain" and "The Sound of Falling Snow" by Annabel Stehli offers further insights to having autism; coping with it and how families work together.
I was impressed with the way James explained how he developed an interest in learning to knit and how soothing he found this activity. He also developed an interest in the American Girls Series, bravely jumping the Gender Bias Barrier to emphasize how one group is usually treated as an underclass at the expense of another (or others).
I loved it when James addresses the very real problem of the word "perseverate" in any tense. He threw down the gauntlet on this harmful word in "The Sound of Snow Falling." It is truly a damning, judgmental, negative and destructive word that is best avoided. "Repetitive behavior / verbalizations" is a preferable replacement and certainly shows more tolerance and is far more accurate. James rightfully points out that overtly autistic behaviors such as lining up items could be the precursor to a talent in draftsmanship and architechture and mathematics. Each "special interest," by far a more tolerant and accurate term than the harmful "perseverate" ever was, can segue into a rewarding interest and possibly career. James speaks to hope and potential and his story is a strong beacon of hope.
James does an exemplary job of explaining how confusing the Tacit Social Codes & Rules are. For many people on the autism/Asperger (a/A) spectrum, the rules seem to change on a whim, based on the needs of the neurotypical (NT) population.
What a wonderful bridge, a link, a meeting point for the a/A population and the NT population to meet each other half way and go the extra mile. This book truly deserves a place of honor and is for everybody.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly practical and useful book 9 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Being the parent of a child with PDD, I have been procuring a lot of books and materials on autism. Many of them turned out to be highly specialized and some downright negative. This book turned out to be one of the best buys which gives practical solutions to all sorts of problems faced by an autistic parent and the solutions are suggested by a child who was autistic. Also, the book is highly positive, as the child it seems, has now been fully mainstreamed and therefore this is another success story like that of Catherine Maurice which gives us parents a lot to learn and practise.
PS. The books was bought in the US and sent to me by a friend.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I have very mixed emotions about this book 15 Feb 2012
By Jenny Burke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I feel very conflicted about this book. I really liked that it provides an inside view of a child on the autism spectrum. I liked that it was funny. I actually loved that the fictional mom hits the kid on the back to prompt him in social situations. I hate to say it but I've done that; no I'm not abusive, I don't actually hit my kid. I liked that the book pushes the point that kids on the autism spectrum are not simply "bad" or obstinate; there are very real reasons why they engage in certain behaviors that are not socially acceptable. Teachers and other providers need to understand the sensory, emotional, and language differences. Some of the proposed solutions are really helpful. I love the suggestion of using an "obliette", a special book, to write down quotes in as a means of cutting down on quoting. What a great idea! But I am very disappointed because I thought this would be a book my son and I could read together. I just don't think we can: this boy is so different than my son, my son won't be able to relate at all to how James feels, nor will most of the solutions be helpful. And I guess that is the primary disappointment for me. It really is not a useful tool for me as I had anticipated based on the description of the book and other reviews. I also felt very sad over the way the author (mom) quickly dispatched with behavior plans and medication as potential interventions. She says: "Your goal, if it's possible, is to raise a fully functioning human being, not a medicated or well trained chimp." I am not an ABA zealot, nor is my own child on medication. But frankly I have friends who swear by medication for their kids (and these kids are not by any means subdued or zombified) and an appropriate behavior plan that contemplates the sensory and emotional needs of a child can be very helpful. I really feel for parents, who are desperate for answers, when they are provided with such sweeping generalizations. So do I recommend this book? Yes, but only to help others gain insight on one child's experience.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book! I Loved It! 28 Aug 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book actually makes autism funny and interesting. I found myself wishing I were autistic, because it seems so much more logical than being "normal." Parents will love this introduction to their child's world.
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