Autism Supporting Difficulties: Handbook of ideas to reduce anxiety in everyday situations – Gaynor M Jackson
Sometimes people just need clear, straightforward advice on what they can try. This is the case for almost everyone. So it’s little surprise that it is regularly the case for parents of children with autism. Many autism books are long and get quite heavy going with diagnostic information and details.
This book comes in at 104 pages (not counting the contents page) and almost all of that is either practical advice or examples of situations where the previously mentioned practical advice was used successfully during Jackson’s career. The book covers a wide range of topics including eating and drinking, visits to the dentist or doctors, starting at a new school, wearing different clothes, and going on holiday.
Corey had a table to work at next to the heater when I first worked with him. In the winter his behaviour was significantly worse than in the summer. He was extremely anxious and would push furniture over with his feet, sometimes pinching his support staff and kicking them. After talking with parents and other staff we discovered he was generally quite a hot child and rarely needed a coat. When we moved his table away from the radiator, his behaviour was much improved.
The book has a consistent recommendation of always considering the impact of sensory processing on different aspects of a situation and how this might cause anxiety for a child with autism. Sensory processing does not always get the attention it needs and to see it demonstrated in this book with clear examples is useful.
There are sections in this book where the examples do not seem to match the section in which they have been placed – such as the example of a young man who began to wet himself in the section on sensory processing. Given that the antecedent of this trouser wetting turned out to be a staff member commenting on his smart he looked in his jeans – it’s connection with the section topic is tenuous. There’s also a few sections where the information is repeated – such as a section on ‘School Lunches’ before a section on ‘Starting School’ which then repeats some of the information from the ‘School Lunches’ section. Really this is something the editing team should have picked up.
With those issues aside, there are not many books out there which deliver easy to access and implement ideas for parents – especially parents who have autistic children with comorbid intellectual disabilities. This book is not a very long read which makes it well suited for both staff and parents who need some advice on something practical to try.
Yes – but more so if you have/work with a younger child with autism, or a child with autism and a comorbid intellectual disability. Some of the advice is applicable regardless of age but most seems better aimed at these two groups.
Value for money?
It’s £8.99 on Amazon UK which is not expensive by autism books’ standards. If you’re looking for in-depth information on autism then no, there are books that will give you better value. If you are a parent (or possibly a staff member) then this book is much more likely to be good value for you.