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This book consists of a set of articles written for parents and teachers on some of the most pressing issues concerning parenting and child development today. In my practice, I have found most mothers have a very accurate idea of their children's abilities. What many parents don't know, or wish to know more about, is how to help their children make the most of their abilities. Likewise, parents don't how to alleviate, compensate, and correct the various lacks of ability their children may suffer from. Teachers, too, often find themselves with the same problem of not knowing how to bring out the best in particular children.
As a behavior analyst I believe intelligence can be increased, the way of being happy can be taught, bad behavior can be turned around, and developmental problems like autism can be re-directed so that the child can become a happily functioning and effectively social adult. I have in my practice accomplished exactly these goals for my clients. Therefore in this book, I explain to parents what intelligence is and how it can be increased; how to rear (bring up) your children so that they are happy, well-adjusted people; and what exactly hyperactivity, attention deficits, and autism are. In the case of hyperactivity and attention deficits I give clear-cut procedures that parents can follow to help their children--or themselves if they too are hyperactive or have attention deficits. In the case of autism, I explain to parents what the professionals ought to be doing so that parents will know if the professionals helping their children will actually help them and how the parents may take an active part in what the professionalsdo.
Because this is a book for all parents, I have tried to avoid jargon and all the rather complicated ways psychologists tend to talk to each other. However, some parents may be clinical psychologists, behavior analysts, or simply exceptionally informed about psychology in general, so for them and anyone who wants to wrestle with psychology's language, I have explained my background, my psychological perspective, and my procedural orientation in the Afterword.
What is intelligence?
The term intelligence seems to be clear when used in conversation. But when we go to specific analysis or examples, intelligence may be many different things. Intelligence has been broken into many categories and has been measured in many different ways. There are many agreements and disagreements as to what intelligence is. For the purpose of helping our children become intelligent, we can say intelligence is a combination of our ability to learn and our ability to solve problems. After all, what children need the most is to learn so that at some point they will solve their problems effectively.
Most of the traditional intelligence tests are based on a test developed in France by a Doctor called Binet. Tests based on Binet's try to measure reason, imagination, insight, judgment, and adaptability. Most intelligence tests are developed through comparing the results of the current test with the results given by previous tests. So, they all measure more or less the same things the same way. This means that when we work with our children's intelligence, we can use virtually any intelligence test for the children's level that is available at the neighborhood book store.
The idea of working at home with intelligence tests is not to measure the child's intelligence. It is very strongly indicated that psychological testing of any kind should be performed only by trained professionals. Our intention is to teach our children to learn, to understand how they learn and how they think, and to use their knowledge to learn problems. What can be better to help us understand how we think than a test that was devised to measure how we think.