Top positive review
77 people found this helpful
Giving Kids Perspective (even ASDs)
on 4 December 2012
I've just bought this for my 7yr old who has pretty extreme outbursts of anger. He has ASD (autism) and ADHD so he cannot help but react instantly to situations without thinking, but my hope is to help him gradually learn better reactions for the times when his brain does actually engage before furniture goes flying! I was reluctant about introducing this book to my child because it's not tailored specifically for children with special needs, and he's only 7, however I feel this book is so child-friendly and clearly laid out that even young and/or high functioning ASDs like my son will find it accessible. The medium sized print means he can read it himself, though it is designed to be read and worked through with an adult, and the cute illustrations throughout help to keep him engaged and interested too. My son is very aware of how much trouble his temper is causing him and wants things to change. He is open to working through this book and I do think that's really important. I don't know how effective this would be for children who are more close-minded and unwilling to change, as it requires the child to not just listen or read but actively participate with some written exercises throughout the book to reinforce what's being learned. With that in mind, I'm not sure it would help moody teenagers who are set in their ways, and would recommend it as being most suitable for 7-12 year olds.
The book starts out with a clear metaphoric explanation of what anger is, using driving a car, which I think will appeal to a lot of kids. My child struggles to understand a lot of metaphors but I think he will understand this, especially using the little visual exercises the book encourages us readers to employ while we read. The metaphoric explanations also help children to distance themselves a little and see that their anger / temper is just one part of the whole (positive) person they are. This approach is used throughout and I think it's a great way to help children deal with the problem without lowering their probably already fragile self-esteem (angry kids tend to get themselves into a lot of trouble after all!). This book reassures kids that it's perfectly normal and healthy to feel angry; it's what they choose to do with that anger that is causing the problems.
The written exercises throughout the book are simple and can be tailored to the individual child's needs and abilities across the primary school levels. Most of the exercises involve children filling in what their thoughts are in various anger-trigger every day situations, and filling in the emotional features on what they are probably feeling when they have those thoughts. A parent can fill these in alongside a reluctant or less able writer acting as a scribe, while more able children can do it themselves and include more detail. I think the smattering of written exercises are included to help ensure that children feel involved and are relating to, and understanding, the situations and triggers the book explores. There are lots of little light-hearted bits in here that will help the children to deal with things without getting bogged down with negativity too, and I really like that. For example on one page there is a check list asking kids if anger has ever helped them in such and such situations, and one or two of them are a bit far-fetched. I can see my son giggling at these as he ticks them off, while still getting the clear point that angry reactions don't achieve things in life. This particular check list is followed up with a more serious list that helps children to understand there are also situations where there angry reactions actually make things worse.
All in all a four star book. The only gripe I have is that there are some American words included, and for the price tag, I think they could have produced a UK version! Instead of explaining American words, which I think will detract my son from the task at hand, I have gone over them with tippex and written over them in UK English (recess, grades etc). It only took me about five minutes to do. Other than that, I think the book tackles the issue in an extremely clear and child-friendly way, without impacting on the child's self esteem. Some of the techniques in the book are ones I know that challenging behaviour advisers recommend, and the text makes good sense to me throughout as well. I'm confident that the research that went into producing this was of a high standard and that this will have some positive impact on my child's anger issues in the long run.