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How Everyone on the Autism Spectrum, Young and Old, can...

Encouraging people on the autism spectrum to foster positive emotions and character traits can dramatically improve their lives in every way, and help to strengthen their ability to cope with everyday challenges and setbacks. Drawing on the key concepts of positive psychology, this book looks in detail at five positive character traits - resilience, optimism, humor, kindness, and self-efficacy - and offers tried and tested strategies for bolstering each strength in individuals with ASD. The authors provide rich and varied lesson plans which contain a multitude of activities designed to build on the five areas identified, and which can be easily implemented at home, at school, or in the community. This complete "toolkit" provides parents, educators and other professionals with everything they need to know to use positive psychology strategies to support people of all ages and abilities on the autism spectrum.
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Table of Contents

Dedication. Acknowledgments. Foreword by V. Mark Durand, Ph.D. Introduction. What is positive psychology? Historical perspectives on developmental disabilities. An emphasis on values. ASPeCT Scale - Assessment Scale for Positive Character Traits. 1. Optimism. What is optimism? Rationale for focusing on optimism. How to nurture optimism. Changing explanatory style. Optimism in autism. Nurturing optimism in the classroom. 2. Humor. What is humor? Rationale. What's so funny? Developmental stages of humor in early childhood. Humor in people with autism. Nurturing humor in individuals with autism. Teaching the rules of humor to people with autism. Application of humor in the home and classroom. 3. Self-efficacy. Introduction. What is self-efficacy? Self-efficacy and self-esteem. The development of self-efficacy. Interpretation and judgement of outcomes. Nurturing self-efficacy in individuals with autism. Conclusion. 4. Kindness. What is kindness? Rationale - why teach kindness? Components of kindness: empathy and perspective taking. How is kindness nurtured in typical children? Kindness in autism. Conclusion. 5. Resilience. Introduction. What is resilience? Why is it important to nurture resilience in individuals with autism? Factors that make persons with autism more vulnerable and less resilient. What can be done to foster resilience? Nurturing resilience. Internal (personal) factors. External factors. Resilience-promoting intervention for individuals with autism. The expected outcome in individuals with autism. Conclusion. 6. Activities for optimism. Positive affirmations. Positive scanning. Positive expectations. Racing towards optimism. Incorporate principles of optimism into a picture rehearsal script. What optimism is and what it isn't. Dealing with problems in the most optimistic way. 7. Activities for humor. Flying balloons. Funny faces. Monkeys jumping on the bed. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Funny pictures. Animal surprise! Simon says. Comic strips. Joke of the day. 8. Activities for self-efficacy. Being persistent. Using an errorless learning technique. Helping at home by doing things I'm good at. Teaching social initiation and play using video modeling to increase self-efficacy in the area of social interaction. Being a good rider on the bus. Developing self-efficacy in problem-solving. Overcoming challenges. Look what I did in art class. I set my goals! Earning 'I can do it!' badges. 'I can do it' tree. 9. Activities for kindness. Identifying opportunities for performing kind acts I. Identifying opportunities for performing kind acts II. The positive pyramid. Animal therapy. Giving basket. Pass the kindness pin. Giving compliments. Kindness tree. Random acts of kindness. Secret pal. 10. Activities for resilience. Coping effectively with challenges. Problem solving basic challenges. Learning about preferences and being able to communicate likes and dislikes. Asking for help from a peer. My community. My solution is... Using the telephone. Positive assertions to build self-esteem. Step-by-step problem solving plan. 11. But wait, there's more - a photography program pulls it all together. My Own World project goals and description. Table of activities. Building an island of competence with photography activities. Photography related computer skills. 12. Measuring positive traits: The ASPeCT-DD scale. Positive traits and wellbeing. Challenges in evaluating positive traits in persons with developmental disabilities. Creation of a tool for measuring positive traits - The ASPeCT study. What we found. What it all means. References. Methods and terms. Index.

Promotional Information

A complete toolkit of positive psychology strategies for parents, educators and professionals to help support people of all ages and abilities on the autism spectrum

About the Author

June Groden Ph.D. has been Director of the Groden Center, an educational and treatment facility for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities in Providence, Rhode Island, since 1976. Dr. Groden is an adjunct professor at Salve Regina and the University of Rhode Island and is on the Panel of Professional Advisors of the Autism Society of America. She has written many books, chapters and journal articles on autism, and is well known for her work in stress and anxiety in the population with autism. Ayelet Kantor Ph.D. is an Associate Director at the Groden Center, and has worked as a parent support group consultant, as an educator in the early intervention program, and as a supervisor and coordinator of professional teams. Cooper R. Woodard Ph.D. is Director of Clinical Services and Training at the Groden Center, a visiting professor at the University of Rhode Island, a visiting professor at Wheaton College, Norton, MA, and a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. Lewis P. Lipsitt Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Medical Science, and Human Development at Brown University. He founded and directed Brown's Child Study Center for 25 years, and is an internationally known scholar in the field of child behavior and development.


This book is suitable for anybody caring for, supporting or working with someone on the autistic spectrum. It focuses on building positive traits, which provides a pleasant alternative to the many books that concentrate on problems and negative behavior... the building blocks that are provided here are great foundations for helping someone with Autistic spectrum Disorder go from strength to strength. -- Youth in Mind How Everyone on the Autism Spectrum... presents a positive psychological approach to nurturing positive emotions and character traits in individuals with autism. This book provides parents, teachers, and other professionals with ways to do this utilizing home, school, and community activities... By fostering positive character traits, you can improve the quality of life of individuals with autism. The five traits selected for this book have been fully described and related research presented. The latter section of the book contains many interesting activities that will allow the individual to work on the positive character traits. The book presents unique information with activities that are easy to implement. -- S-O-S Research blog This is a very thorough and uplifting aid for professionals working with persons with autistic and developmental disabilities. -- ForeWord Magazine This book encourages supporting persons with autism and developmental disabilities by building on character strengths and incorporating their whole life experiences, rather that working with a pathology - or deficit-based model. -- ForeWord Reviews

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