Friday, October 30, 2015

The Asperkid's Secret Book of Social Rules

One of the best things about Asperger Syndrome becoming more widely understood and diagnosed is that adults who are Aspie themselves have stepped forward to help others navigate the waters. Those of us who are neuro-typical can read all we can about this syndrome, love and work with these individuals all day, and still not fully understand what it is like to be them. Jennifer Cook O'Toole is Aspie herself, married to an Aspie, and is the mom of three Aspies. The CEO of Asperkids, LLC, a social education company, she knows what she is talking about!

I picked up "The Asperkid's Secret Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger Syndrome," skimmed it, and decided it was worth sharing with my Aspie teen. I love that O'Toole writes, "Do not try to be something or someone you are not. Ever. Remember what I said about my always feeling like a 'poser,' a fraud? That's a horrible way to live. These rules aren't going to turn you 'poof!' into an NT. Which is a good thing. Being an Asperkid isn't something to hide - actually, it's something to laugh about and even be proud of." That being said, being able to navigate the social world is important, and an area that most Aspies struggle with. O'Toole offers them some very helpful guidelines, what she calls the secret rules.

She talks about saying "Thank you," and "I'm sorry," how to offer a compliment and act interested in others, handling criticism (both the getting and offering), how to deal with white lies,  the importance of positive self-talk, navigating social media, and a bit on communicating with the opposite sex.

I brought this book home, showed it to my Aspie, and said, "I thought this might be something you would be interested in," and then hoped he would read it. It proceeded to sit on the shelf for the next month, but then, one day, he picked it up, and devoured it in two days. He laughed and nodded along as he was reading. In short, he loved this book, and found it very helpful. That, I think, is the best recommendation I can offer. This is a book for Aspie tweens and teens to read themselves and get what they can out of it.


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