“When I was a teen, many of the exercises and activities in this book would have helped me calm down. … This book is a real, practical, and positive guide for reducing stress.”
Temple Grandin, author ofThinking in Pictures
Teens with autism have the potential to be excellent actors. They are natural observersable to study, imitate, and learn social behavior. The Autism Playbook for Teens is designed to bolster these strengths with mindfulness strategies and roleplaying scripts, while also helping teens reduce anxiety, manage emotions, be more aware in the present moment, and connect with others.
This book offers a unique, strengths-based approach to help teens with autism spectrum (including Asperger’s Syndrome) develop social skills, strengthen communication, and thrive. The activities contained in each chapter are custom-designed to work with the unique perspectives, sensory processing, neurological strengths and challenges that teens with autism bring to their encounters with the social world. By engaging in these activities, teens will gain an authentic awareness of their surroundings, leading to better social interaction that is also rewarding, interesting, and fun.
The delightful and creative activities in this book are grounded in well-documented clinical observations and current empirical studies. They also take into account the real neurological differences that exist in young people with autism, and focuses on the unique pathways needed to connect with and inspire these exceptional and fabulous teenagers.
This is the only book available for teens with autism that specifically integrates mindfulness skills and imaginative scripted roleplaying activities for building authentic social experiences.
About the Author
Irene McHenry, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, dynamic educator, consultant, and the author and editor of numerous publications, including Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning. She leads programs nationwide with a focus on leadership and mindfulness. McHenry was founding head of Delaware Valley Friends School (for teens with learning differences), cofounder of Greenwood Friends School, founding faculty for Fielding Graduate University's doctoral program in education, and a senior investigator for the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute. She directs the Leadership Institute and mindfulness programs for Friends Council on Education where she recently served as executive director. She is past-president for the Council for American Private Education and serves on the boards of Mindfulness in Education Network, Vector Group Consulting North America, and Haverford College.
Carol Moog, PhD, founder of ImagineAct, recently served as the clinical director of the Social Learning Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the psychologist at The Miquon School,actively collaborates with Autism Inclusion Resources (AIR), and works extensively with children, teens, and adults on the autism spectrum in her clinical practice as a licensed psychologist. Carol was an artist-in-residence at Green Tree School and a consultant to the Social Competency Program at the Center for Autism, creating theater-based social skills programs for teens drawing from her experience as a theater improviser, actor, musician, communications consultant, and writer. Among her publications, she is the author of Are They Selling Her Lips? Advertising and Identity. Carol has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, the Today Show, and Good Morning America.
Foreword writer Susan Kaiser Greenland, JD, is a former corporate attorney who developed the Inner Kids mindful awareness program for children, teens, and families. Research on the Inner Kids elementary school program was conducted at the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA and is published in the Journal of Applied School Psychology. Author of The Mindful Child, Susan teaches children, parents, and professionals and consults with various organizations on teaching mindful awareness in an age-appropriate and secular manner. She has spoken at universities, medical centers, and schools, both public and private, worldwide. Susan lives in Los Angeles with her husband Seth Greenland. They have two grown children.
Table of Contents
Part I Calm Your Body and Mind
Chapter 1 Just Breathe: Focus and Calm Yourself 3
Chapter 2 Soar with Your Butterflies: Calm Your Anxiety 11
Chapter 3 Create a Pause Button: Get Comfortable 17
Chapter 4 Light the Stage: Choose the Best Focus 23
Chapter 5 Groove with Gravity: Feel Solid in Your Body 29
Part II Use Your Thoughts and Feelings to Build Your Independence
Chapter 6 Your Body Is the Actor: Identify Your Feelings 37
Chapter 7 The Astonishing Energy of Feelings: Use Your Feelings as Power 45
Chapter 8 Basic Meltdown Prevention: Managing Anger 51
Chapter 9 Your Mind Is the Stage: Get Flexible and Switch Roles 65
Chapter 10 Makeover Magic: Improve Your Self-Esteem 77
Part III Reach Out to Connect with Others and Direct Your Life
Chapter 11 Play the Role of a Scientist: Get Curious 89
Chapter 12 You Are the Director: Advocate for Yourself 99
Chapter 13 The Positive Channel: Build Your Health and Happiness 105
Chapter 14 Practice Kindness: Make Friends 113
Chapter 15 Design Your Own Stage: Prepare for Your Scenes 125
Chapter 16 Live Your Own Scripts: Direct Your Next Steps 133
McHenry and Moog live in the Greater Philadelphia Area, PA.