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Throughout the book, Joanne Barrie Lynn weaves poems and anecdotes about the authors' son, Gregory, diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and high-functioning autism, to ground it in the reality of the joys and difficulties of nurturing the genius of an Attention Different child. As she writes in her foreword, "It is in the small intimate details of a life that eccentric neurology is illuminated, and it is in these details-the good, the bad, the painful, the sublime-that genius is recognized."
It's time for a positive vision for children with Tourette Syndrome, bipolar disorder, AD/HD, and Asperger Syndrome. Genius! does an admirable job of providing that vision.
In order for our children to grow up as free and productive human beings they (and we) need a positive vision of their lives and potential. My work as a psychotherapist for twenty-five years has taught me this fundamental reality about my own change process and that of my clients: You do not change yourself by focusing on your faults. You have to know your gifts and what you want for yourself in your life and you have to proceed toward this destiny with commitment. This principle of human development applies to both adults and children.
My first two books, Survival Strategies for Parenting Your ADD Child and Survival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar Disorder, provided ways for parents and other caregivers to understand and help very difficult children who were difficult because of their brain chemistry-those who are “wild, odd, and oppositional.” These two books described ways to survive the day-to-day stress of parenting our kids and to get them to adulthood in one piece. You have to have a foundation to grow on. You have to have a safe and strong launching pad.
This book provides strategies for daily survival but its main focus is much wider than the first two works. It is about charting the journey after a successful launch. It is an attempt to answer questions I have received from many parents of very difficult children over the years of my practice: “What is in store for my child when he grows up?” “Is he doomed to failure or is there some hope?” “What is a realistic scenario for his positive development and what can I do to move him in that direction?” These are gravely serious questions that must be answered with respect, compassion, and accuracy. This book is an attempt to provide some answers.
The children I work with in my counseling practice instinctively respond well to hearing about the positive in themselves. They are instinctively able to be more resourceful in situations once they are told that they can do so and are shown how. The journey begins in the doctor’s office but does not end there. Appropriate medication to relieve a child’s suffering and enable him to experience stability and cognitive focus is the first order of business, but it is only the first step.
Genius! provides a plan for nurturing the best qualities in your child. It is based on the premise that we all have an idiosyncratic contribution to make to the world and that we are guided to that gift by something called genius. It provides ways to sort out and strengthen your child’s positive features without denying the presence of his challenges. It represents my evolution as a therapist from fighting fires to planning futures, and my hope is that it provides inspiration for your own work as a parent in this direction!