Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Review: The Loving Push by Temple Grandin and Debra Moore

The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals can help Spectrum Kids become Successful Adults
By Temple Grandin Ph.D and Debra Moore Ph.D.
Future Horizons 2015.

The Loving Push is a very different type of autism book. It's aimed at the parents of teens and young adults with autism (or Asperger's syndrome) and it concentrates mainly on what comes after school. I've found very few books aimed at this audience and this one is undoubtedly the best. 

At 200 fairly densely packed pages, this is a moderate read which unlike other books of its kind does not frequently retread the same ground.

The opening chapter talks about real people with autism and/or Asperger's syndrome who have transitioned to adulthood with varying measures of success.  This is not a book of stories about geniuses and many of the young adults in the first chapter simply have "independence" as their main goal. It's a very sobering and realistic look at what comes next.

The second chapter outlines three of the biggest factors on the road to success;

  1. Avoiding Learned Helplessness
  2. Learning Optimism and Resisting Habitual Negative Thinking
  3. The Critical Impact of Mentors
It's in this chapter that the book really clarifies its title; "The Loving Push".  It can't be emphasised enough that sometimes as a parent you need to back off and push your kids to do things for themselves. 


Chapter 3 covers breaking bad habits, like being unmotivated or reacting badly to problems and failures. This chapter also spends some time comparing the lifestyles of young adults with autism and neurotypical "normal" young adults. It's a great comparison which will have many parents nodding their heads as the realisations hit.

Chapter 4 deals with stretching your young adults beyond their comfortable boundaries while chapter 5 deals with apathetic or anxious people. These chapters are full of great tips and real life examples, many of which are from the parents and kids in the opening chapter.

It's Chapter 6 that really is the eye-opener in this book. As a person with a long history of computer gaming, I've always had issues with Temple's crusade against gaming. I'm pretty sure that I was tensed up ready to reject the whole chapter as "a worry based on her age".  That's not the case. This is a really scary chapter which goes into a lot of detail on the mechanics of gaming addiction and the reasons why our children, with Asperger's syndrome or autism, are particularly at risk.

There were many parts of this chapter which had me acknowledging not only my kids behaviours but those of their friends ... and indeed my own behaviour in my younger days. One thing is for sure, we'll be looking more closely at how gaming occurs in our family in the future.

Chapter 7 is all about teaching vital life skills to your child before they become an adult. It covers chores, breaking steps down, using technology to better manage oneself, driver education, interactions with the police and even romantic entanglements. It's a very good chapter but to be honest, my mind was still reeling after chapter 6 and I'm not sure that I took it all in.

There's a great example cited by a professor in chapter 7 where he talks about kids who attend college but have never had to use an alarm clock.  Normally their mothers wake them, find their clothes, remind them to get dressed and to have their breakfast. This is great while they're at home but parents who do too much for their kids at home actually put them at a disadvantage.  The loving push is what is really needed.

The loving push is hands down, the best autism book aimed at late teens (through to mid-twenties and sometimes beyond). If you have one of these kids already, this is the book to get.... particularly if they spend "too much time" on the computer and/or in their bedroom.  If you don't have a teen yet but have a younger child, this book is still a great one to get.  It will become increasingly valuable as your kids get older and the earlier the techniques in the book are applied, the better.

I really can't praise this book enough. 

The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals can help Spectrum Kids become Successful Adults
By Temple Grandin Ph.D and Debra Moore Ph.D. is available from;



Honesty Clause: I was provided with a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes. 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"There's a great example cited by a professor in chapter 7 where he talks about kids who attend college but have never had to use an alarm clock. Normally their mothers wake them, find their clothes, remind them to get dressed and to have their breakfast. This is great while they're at home but parents who do too much for their kids at home actually put them at a disadvantage. The loving push is what is really needed."

The less time and energy a kid has to spend on learning and using skills that aren't on academic tests, the more time and energy he or she has for learning things that are on academic tests. Some parents, even parents of NTs, prioritize academic test scores above *all* else (even above some of the other things that university admissions workers want to see in addition to high test scores). :(

dee sheridan said...

I am really excited to hear about this book geared for young adults on the spectrum, When my son was 20 and in college I had him move to his own apartment. As a parent of an aspergers child it is always easier to do the activities of daily living for them. I knew enabling this would not be to his benefit. So in order to ensure that he can live on his own and be independent with me available to help him out when he would lose direction in navigating the day to day.

Now Four years later , we began a writing project that explore our own perspectives on growing up on the spectrum. Take a look at the blog if you like, and we would be happy to submit a guest blog post if you like .
dee * and Jesse

Amy said...

Thank you for this review. I've been looking for a book exactly about this topic. There are hundreds of books for kids - but making that transition to young adult and then independence is not well covered (and often only bleak footnotes). I am looking forward to reading this.

Susan Wat said...

Thank you
I have only just found your site and to be in Australia!.
I will be purchasing this book thanks for the review it is so hard to find good books that don't repeat the same over and over and directed at the younger aged children.
I have a 12yr old daughter with Aspergers whom I now home school as she struggles not being a genius as many around us seem to be. We are now learning using different methods than at school. She will always be way behind but we are learning!.
Your site is so refreshing, I will be returning often to catch up dates.
Susan.

thepuppy said...

Thank you so very much for your blog and all of the resources! I've been gaining a lot of perspective in all of the comments and book reviews. I'm in a relationship with a man who is on the spectrum AND from a vastly different culture from my own. He had never heard of Aspergers before I mentioned it recently and luckily we are both interested in researching it more and finding ways to leverage the strengths and to manage the difficulties. We are both in our late twenties and he is having troubles transitioning to independence from his parents. We are both a little concerned that he is becoming dependent on me as a substitute and that his apathy, depression, and negative thought habits are going to be obstacles to building a life together. Do you think this book would be helpful for me? Do you think I should suggest it to him to read as well, or would that be somehow insensitive or provoke a negative reaction? Thank you again!

Yaz said...

Thank for your review, I just bought the book. I am marry to a AS, and our son 19 years old is also in the spectrum. I made him apply to college in TX. He was accepted. After many supplications he agree to register for classes. Everything is a resistance with him and he is always angry as well .He did not apply for room & board on time, even though I reminded him to be on time, finally I went and rented a room with older students near near campus. He happily agreed to move to his room. About the classes; he registered for 4 courses and he either forgot or over slept or suffer anxiety and fail the complete 1st semester. His father and I went to see him and found a old gun in his room, we do not believe he was going to harm anyone or himself. He told us that he became obsessed with the old gun. He can name all guns and bullets and details as well the dimensions ect. As well as airplanes. Computer hardware.in highschool he was in the debate team and he did fantastic. However we do not beleive he wrote or prepared his speaches. We thinks that his team help him.!and since he is obsessive and very fast speaker he won many awards. Now days he is in the house sleeping during the day and playing games at night. Never made it to his classes failed all classes 2 semesters. The last semester I only asking to take two classes that he wpuld like history. He mention my husband
That most of the time he sit in his car and never went to class. Ever since he was a young child we were called from the school to pick him up due to sickness, as soon as he got home he went to play computer games. Now days we disconnect the internet but perhaps is too late. He suffered from depression so he takes zolof and Wellbutrin. Now we are thinking that ritalin may help him with executive fuction that is missing.
I certainly hate to give him meds.