Monday, June 10, 2013

All Grown Up Monday - Lost at School

Today's book review comes (with permission-thank you!) from the blog New to Homeschooling/Not New to Autism.

I've been reading a new book by another psychologist who really "gets it" and does a fabulous job explaining "it" to parents and professionals of challenging children. (The book is not about autism--it is a helpful resource to a parent or professional dealing with challenging children or students.) 

Homeschoolers, do NOT let the title turn you off. You'll like this book, too, if you have a challenging child.

Chapter 2 of Lost at School, Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them, by Ross W Greene, Ph.D. is titled, "Kids Do Well If They Can."

On page 10, the opening page of Chapter 2, Green explains that, "When the 'kids do well if they want to' philosophy is applied to a child who is not doing well, then we believe that the reason he's not doing well is because he doesn't want to."

A paragraph later, Dr. Green continues, "By contrast, the 'kids do well if they can' philosophy carries the assumption that if a kid could do well he would do well. If he's not doing well, he must be lacking the skills needed to respond to life's challenges in an adaptive way. ..."

What are those skills? Interestingly, they are pretty much the same concepts, described in new ways, as the skills we are working on in RDI(r) as we work to remediate the core deficits of autism, skills like attention shifting and attention sharing, in what we sometimes refer to as "social skills", and in flexibility and creative problem solving. That's just a short list.

Dr. Green has created a checklist of lagging skills he calls the ALSUP, or Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (ALSUP) . During a November presentation, he told those of us in attendance that this document is a work in process, and that he will update it periodically, and he told us that it is available on the book web site. The "lost at school" web site is here. Click here for the ALSUP in PDF.

Dr. Green walks a parent and/or professional through the process of gaining the trust of the student, and he teaches you about CPS, or Collaborative Problem Solving, a process that gives the student an opportunity to practice and grow the very skills that are lagging in a way that the child is a very active part of the process.

RDIers will like this book--the ideas fit nicely with what we're doing in "guided participation" applied to autism. I see a lot of similarity with Feuerstein's "MLE" (mediated learning experience), too. I like the way Dr. Greene writes -- the book is filled with anecdotes to illustrate his points.

Those of you who know me know that I am a huge fan of our public library and the service our libraries offer called interlibrary loan. I often borrow a book in order to preview it, to decide if I like it enough to buy it. This one, I bought sight unseen, on a recommendation from another parent, and I'm glad I did, and this time, I am going to suggest you buy this one, because you're going to want to read it with a pencil or highlighter in one hand. ;) And if you get an opportunity to hear Dr. Greene in person, GO! He is a fantastic speaker!

This post originally appeared here where you can find other posts by the reviewer.

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