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The autism playbook for teens - Irene McHenry

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The autism playbook for teens - imagination-based mindfulness activities to calm yourself, build independence, & connect with others
Irene McHenry
Paperback / softback
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UK Publication Date

"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 observers-able 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.

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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.

"The content and style of this excellent book has the potential to significantly improve the well-being and quality of life of teenagers who have autism and their families. I endorse the theoretical model and will enthusiastically use and recommend the activities with adolescents and to my colleagues."
-Tony Attwood, author of The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome

"As the incidence of autism has risen to 1 in 66, becoming aware of autism is evolving to accepting autism as part of the human family. The challenges of the autism spectrum can be gritty and unwelcome, so changing the changeable and finding a peaceful balance is vital. The mindfulness-based activities skillfully applied by McHenry and Moog can help teens and their supporters to calm their minds and bodies, have fun, and enjoy their lives-with practice."
-Robert A. Naseef, PhD, in private practice at Alternative Choices and author of Autism in the Family: Caring and Coping Together

"With their Autism Playbook for Teens, Irene McHenry and Carol Moog offer a manual for well-being for youths-not only for young people on the autism spectrum, but for others as well. The authors' experience and their understanding of adolescents on the spectrum are clearly evident from cover to cover. Written in an authentic, accessible, and sensitive way, this book radiates understanding of the struggles teens on the spectrum face every day. It provides practical yet imaginative exercises for managing emotions, relating to others, and achieving independence based on the foundation of mindfulness. The fact that this book directly addresses the teenage reader is a unique and enormously helpful feature, but it can also be very useful to parents and others who are part of the young person's world. This is the playbook many youths have needed for a long time."
-Trish Broderick, PhD, research associate, Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

"You may have heard phrases such as 'the miracle of mindfulness' or 'the mindfulness revolution.' What's all the hoopla about? Well, it turns out that attentional skills can be dramatically improved through systematic exercise, and mindfulness seems to provide the most effective way of doing that.

The specific focus skills that mindfulness develops are precisely those needed by people on the autism spectrum: the ability to concentrate; the ability to detect cues from the environment; and the ability to experience emotional sensations with a kind of gentle matter-of-factness, not suppressing them, but also not holding onto them. These skills working together can help people experience more connectedness, pick up on social cues, and manage their emotional bodies. The book you have in your hand represents a practical guide for achieving these deep goals."
-Shinzen Young, PhD

"Grounded in creative mindfulness practices and Irene McHenry and Carol Moog's deep understanding of the challenges faced by teens on the autism spectrum, this inspired autism playbook offers invaluable support to teens, their parents, and helping professionals."
-Richard Brady, MS, president and cofounder of the Mindfulness in Education Network and co-editor with Irene McHenry of Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning

"The Autism Playbook for Teens is an invaluable resource for adolescents that will support their emotional and social health. Through the stories in each chapter, teens will realize that they are not alone in their struggles. Using the clear and simple instructions for the practical exercises offered, teens will be able to experience greater calm and connection to themselves and others. This is an extraordinary book. Let the play begin."
-Diane Reibel, PhD, director of the Mindfulness Institute at the Jefferson Myrna-Brind Center of Integrative Medicine and coauthor of Teaching Mindfulness: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Educators

Keyword Index
Autism spectrum disorders.|Social interaction in adolescence.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages
xv, 139

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