I Am Special: Introducing Children and Young People to Their Autistic Spectrum Disorder

I Am Special: Introducing Children and Young People to Their Autistic Spectrum Disorder

I Am Special: Introducing Children and Young People to Their Autistic Spectrum Disorder

I Am Special: Introducing Children and Young People to Their Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Synopsis

This workbook is designed for use by and with young people with autism spectrum disorder. Acting as an excellent source of information for the autistic child, and containing exercises and information, it can be used to counsel as well as to teach.

Excerpt

For years, we have been explaining the phenomenon of autism to parents and professionals in the health, education, and social services. Over the past few years, there has been considerable progress in the diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders in people of average intelligence. These people with autism have themselves started to ask direct and indirect questions about the phenomenon. This recent evolution has created a new challenge for their parents and for professionals: how to explain autism to them?

In 1997, when I was writing Het Gesloten Boek. Over Autisme en Emoties (The Closed Book. On Autism and Emotions), I decided to take up this challenge. I devoted a whole chapter to the subject. The lectures I gave on the subject attracted a great deal of interest. Both parents and professionals came to me with lots of questions, and they particularly asked for concrete materials or practical manuals. I had described the general outlines and discussed the main points of interest in my book, but they still needed to be worked out in detail and given a practical form.

But parents and professionals were not the only people who came to me with questions. During our 'life skills' courses for adolescents with autism, the participants themselves had started asking questions about their disability and their problems. A number of sessions on the subjects of bullying and criticism, and especially the sessions on relationships, led them to approach the subject of autism itself.

In June 1998, I was charged with a very concrete mission. An Institute, which specialised in young people with autistic spectrum disorders and a below average to above average intelligence, asked the Vlaamse Dienst Autisme (VDA, Flemish Autism Service), the Centre where I work as a lecturer and autism consultant, for advice and support on a new project aimed at . . .

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