Posts tagged ‘autism’

On Our Bookshelf: The Hidden Curriculum

On Our Bookshelf: The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations, by Brenda Smith Myles, Melissa Trautman, and Ronda Schelvan

Audience: Parents and caregivers of individuals with autism, Aspergers or other difficulties in social interactions

From the introduction of The Hidden Curriculum: “The hidden curriculum refers to the set of rules or guidelines that are often not directly taught but are assumed to be known. The hidden curriculum contains items that impact social interactions, school performance, and sometimes safety. The hidden curriculum also includes idioms, metaphors, and slang – things most people “just pick up” or lean through observation or subtle cues, including body language.” hidden-curriculum book

Many children on the autism spectrum find it hard to understand the hidden curriculum that peers seem to naturally follow. For example, young adults will typically speak more formally to a grandparent, while they may use more “colorful” language around peers. During an elementary school band concert, most children will not proclaim loudly their opinion that the musicians sound horrible. While everyone in the audience may indeed be thinking the same thing, the hidden curriculum protocol for this situation is to sit quietly and congratulate the musicians on their hard work, rather than offer a critique. Many of our culture’s social expectations depend on the context at hand: it may be appropriate to greet a favorite cousin with a fist bump at the park, but not at a funeral. These concepts are typically not directly taught, and the majority of children will follow along, or respond to subtle cues, such as a parent pursing their lips and raising their eyebrows to indicate disapproval. Children on the autism spectrum have difficulty noticing and interpreting these types of social cues. They require more specific lessons regarding the hidden curriculum.

The Hidden Curriculum offers parents and caregivers a look into the complexity of social protocols, and presents lists of potential challenges in topics from personal hygiene, rules for different types of restaurants, and classroom guidelines. It also includes a list of common idioms and the meaning behind them (e.g. “You’re killing me” really means to make another person laugh, not actually kill them).

Available from major booksellers and the Autism Asperger Publishing Company.

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

light it up blue

Created by Autism Speaks, this event is a way of celebrating World Autism Awareness Day, a global initiative to bring attention to the growing numbers of people living with autism.  So what is Light It Up Blue?  All around the world, iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Great Buddha in Kobe Japan, the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia will be lit with blue lights in honor of those with autism.

You can participate too   The Home Depot carries blue light bulbs, filters and lanterns to light your house.  Encourage your colleagues to wear blue to work on April 2nd and post a picture on Facebook.   For more information and details, go to Autism Speaks – Light It Up Blue

On Our Bookshelf: Top 10 Tips

On Our Bookshelf: Top Ten Tips: A Survival Guild for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum, by Teresa Cardon, MA, CCC-SLP

Audience: Parents and caregivers of children with sensory processing disorder or autism

Top Ten Tips: A Survival Guild for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum is just that: a set of over 50 “Top Ten” lists relating to a wide range of practical, everyday topics. Although the title focuses on children with an ASD, much of the information presented in this book could also be appropriate for a child with sensory processing disorder or other related difficulties. The lists were compiled by Teresa Cardon, MA, CCC-SLP, with contributors including parents and siblings of top ten tips bookindividuals on the autism spectrum, occupational therapists, special education teachers, speech therapists, social workers and others who interact with individuals with autism. Top Ten Tips is a perfect book for the busy family who does not have the time to sit down and read a long narrative, but is looking for useful ways to manage daily events. The book consists entirely of easy to read lists with tried and true ideas to handle the difficulties that can arise around potty training, winning and losing games, homework, grocery shopping, birthday parties and more.

Available from major booksellers and the Autism Asperger Publishing Company.