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Posted May 19, 2013
As a female with high-functioning autism, I found this book to be an overall disappointment. It relies too much on gender stereotypes and emphasizes on making girls with ASD's more like their typical peers. For example, in the topic of "Developing and Expanding your Daughter's interest" the authors talk about how parents should encourage age appropriate interests. I liked the fact the authors acknowledged that having less mature interests is part of her self esteem but the part I disagree is strictly wording and terminology. It made cringe that the authors talk about how their girls are "learning to play less with Sesame Street toys, watch fewer SpongeBob shows, and talk less about powerpuff girls"(158). I don't like the fact that the authors treat having "childlike" interests as a behavior instead of a unique aspect of a person. For instance there are teens and young adults that have "childlike" interests such as Hello Kitty and SpongeBob who are not on the spectrum. This book really misses the point I also disagree with the suggestions the authors give in dealing with this issue like rewarding age appropriate play and activities and joining a group of typically developing peer mentors. I don't believe in using the reward system in age appropriate play or activities since having childlike interests is not a behavior but a unique aspect of that individual so it should not be treated like a behavior. I understand in trying to limit these interests at school but I don't see the big deal in trying to limit these interests at home or leisure time since individuals on the spectrum spend most of their time at school. Terms like age appropriate and "less mature" are arbitrary like the word "normal". Another topic I disagree with the authors is about "popularity and social status". The authors discuss how girls with ASDs don't care about popularity and social status like it's a bad thing. They say that we need guidance from parents, professionals and peer mentors in developing these very superficial values of popularity and social status and caring how other girls think of us. When I was a teen, I didn't care so much about being popular since a lot of the popular girls at my school had superficial values and were more likely to engage in underage drinking and use drugs. I can say from personal experience the more I care about how my peers view me, the more I became insecure about myself. The style of the book makes it a very dry read and it uses a lot of comparison between girls with ASDs and typically developing girls which is very disastrous and leads to self destructive thoughts in parents. It rarely includes insights from any individuals on the autism spectrum until the very end of the book. The problem with neurotypical experts writing books about autism is they tend to make overgeneralizations and think their treatment is superior to all other treatments out there. Overall this book deserves two and a half stars but half stars are not allowed so I will leave it at two stars.
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Posted November 3, 2009
I Also Recommend:
Girls Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum is an amazing resource chock-full of so much information including professional perspectives and personal experience from mothers, daughters and educators, that I consider this a "must have" for anyone interacting with young ladies in the teens/tweens age group who have ASDs. It is phenomenal just how much information is so effectively contained in 350 pages and, yet, it is presented in such "bite-sized" pieces that one doesn't get lost in a sea of information.
The book touches on the differences between boys and girls on the spectrum as well as how girls sometimes "fly under the radar" generally getting diagnosed later than boys. As well, the roller coaster of challenges that the combination of adolescence with autism presents are covered in depth. A "Teaching Toolkit" with guidelines and techniques is thoroughly highlighted. The 4 P's (Puberty, Periods, Pads and Pelvic Exams) are covered so effectively that a mom will now have confidence and practical "tools" in helping her teen succeed in these areas.
Providing detailed suggestions about health, fitness, body image and even the importance of shopping for her first bra are such practical and useful tips that a mother of any young lady would find them useful. Directly addressing the social "landscape" of friends and social status will help parents navigate these tricky waters and provide opportunities for their daughters.
Addressing healthy sexuality as well as personal safety for girls with ASDs provides parents with straightforward tips and resources for making a tough subject a very manageable learning experience.
The book ends with the proverbial icing on the cake by following a mother and daughter (with ASD) as they progressed through their journey with Asperger's Syndrome. Seeing the story told from both vantage points gives such an invaluable perspective which, I am sure, will help many families know that they are not alone in this journey through autism.
KUDOS to the authors and all the references, resources and internet links that they made available to make this book even more beneficial for readers. I have read stacks of books on autism and I truly believe that GIRLS GROWING UP ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM is a must-have for any family who has a daughter on the autism spectrum. I can definitely see a mother reading, re-reading and highlighting this book as her daughter progresses through various stages of adolescence and life as a girl on the autism spectrum. It is bursting to the seams with useful hands-on proactive approaches to parenting these wonderful and unique young ladies.
Joanna Keating-Velasco, Para-Educator and Author of Kid's Books on Autism
A Is for Autism, F Is for Friend - A Kid's Book on Making Friends with a Child Who Has Autism
IN HIS SHOES - A Short Journey Through Autism
Posted October 10, 2009
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