319 of 325 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2005
I love this book and would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in autism and/or sociology. I mention sociology because, even if you have no interest in autism, the book is a great look at all of the unwritten rules and codes in our society that we live by but may be unaware of. Also, we are reintroduced to Sean Barron, thirteen years after we first met him in "There's a Boy in Here".
I really feel that anyone who is working on social skills with someone on the autistic spectrum should read this book. I have looked at plenty of other books on teaching social skills, but there are some things that the books written by non-autistic authors just don't cover. Temple and Sean give frequent accounts of their reactions in social situations during various points in their lives, followed by explanations of why they reacted this way and what their rationale was at the time. There is a ton of really useful information here!
One point perhaps worth mentioning is that the focus of this book is very much on teaching those on the autistic spectrum about the rules and expectations of our society, so know that going in. This is a point that people may feel differently about - while some people advocate teaching these things to varying degrees, there are those who (in my understanding, at least) advocate for autism culture and believe in less 'adjustment' on the part of people with autism and instead more acceptance of the autistic way of doing things. Either way, I think there should be something in this book for many different types of readers, be it a background in teaching social skills, a look at sociology, two interesting partial auto-biographies, etc.
117 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2007
Fascinating. One author with minimal, and one with maximum, emotionally-influenced autism, provides a range of insights for understanding and teaching minds on the autistic spectrum.
One important theme is that professionals often don't know what they are talking about and may do more harm than good, though many are trying and helping. Often, determined parents and common sense are the best approach, though understanding how to teach the autistic mind is difficult.
For example, one mother was aggravated over her son's tracking dirt in, constantly telling him to wipe his shoes and punishing him over time. One day she noticed as he came in that he bent down and carefully wiped the top of his shoes. Once she demonstrated what she meant by wiping one's shoes, there was no more problem.
Kids are unique. Being corrected about how to place eating utensils and napkins at a dinner table is a helpful learning experience for Temple, but a depressing condemnation for Sean. He sees his error as incompetence and something everyone else knows. Must first gain a perspective on how important this error is in the broader scheme of things.
The first half gives insights into how these two learned things and why they had troubles. The second half of the book gives ten rules of life that autism makes it difficult to understand and suggests ways of teaching these.
150 of 158 people found the following review helpful
...or this fast! I haven't actually finished it yet, you see, but every page seems to be a revelation. After sharing several passages with my teen son, who has Asperger's, today he took it away from me and began reading it himself. The front flap is his bookmark, the back flap is mine.
This book has incredibly valuable information for everyone who has contact with someone on the autism spectrum, most especially parents and teachers. My plan is to order a number of copies, highlight personally relevant passages, and hand out free copies to teachers and administrators as my son enters high school. I am convinced that the information in this book has the power to improve not only the life of my son, but of every other child and adult on the spectrum, diagnosed or undiagnosed, that they have contact with.
Great, great thanks go out to Temple and Sean and their genius of an editor. This is a book with the power to help effect positive change for a long time.
93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2009
I have Asperger's Syndrome, so you would think this book would've helped me. And while I could identify with a few aspects of the authors' experiences with Asperger's, I found precious little that could help me cope with life in the non-autistic world. The book goes into great detail about how to raise, teach, and help folks with autism and Asperger's, but it doesn't really offer much for folks who have the syndrome. Then again, I've yet to find a book written as a guide specifically for aspies. Most of the literature out there is geared toward teachers and parents. I guess they figure we can't handle it :P
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2009
I have a 13yo girl who is a VERY high functioning Aspie. She is a straight A student, very smart, very verbal. And there are still places where her Aspie traits trip her up. It is hard to write IEP goals for someone who is high functioning, because the typical "social skills training" is not what she needs. This book is brilliant because Temple's "rules" articulate the hidden norms that society runs on. Knowing what the norms are makes it easier to learn and apply them. From there, it's much easier to write social skills goals designed to help high functioning kids learn to deal with complex social situations. I know my Aspie really well, and I am still surprised by her reactions to some social situations. Her disabilities sometimes show up in ways I'd never anticipated. Temple's "rules" identify the stuff that NT's seem to "get", especially those that I vaguley understand but don't know how to express. I am often my daughter's social interpreter in complex high school interactions, and it makes it so much easier to explain complex social interactions when I understand the rules myself!
For example, how do you teach someone to rank rules in a situation where several rules apply and they conflict with each other?? This is something most people do automatically. If you don't realize that this is an issue with Aspie/autist kids, they can make some really bad choices. So the IEP goal becomes: "student will learn to rate the relative importance of following conflicting rules in a given situation and follow the rule that is most important." That way teachers and parents realize that the various rules have to be articulated, discussed, ranked, and then how to apply the rules in different situations has to be taught. Difficult, but possible.
This book is brilliant. Anyone can benefit from learning these "rules"; any parent of any teenager, NT or spectrum, can use these rules to help teens work through the shark pool of high school interactions and become more socially skillful people.
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2006
I have been reading a new book by these two autism spectrum individuals who have
been successful in adult life, entitled "Unwritten Rules of Social
Relationships:Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism," and on the back cover Sean's mother says, "I wish I had this book when Sean was a child. It would have helped me understand Sean so much more."
As I am reading it, I am seeing echoes of my grandson's struggles over and over again. And also the two individuals who wrote it, with some help from an editor, are quite different from one another. Grandin is an Asperger's thinking-type scientist, and Barron is an emotion-feeling-type autistic individual, more like my grandson in many ways. Both of them, however, feel deeply and intensely.
As adults (Grandin is now almost 60), they have been able to review and process
their own life struggles to help others through the maze of what sometimes seem like alien social customs. And they have come up with 10 Rules that if we can help our children understand them, will make life much easier for them. At the risk of giving away the plot (;-)) I'm going to list the first six here:
"Rule #1: Rules are Not Absolute. They are Situation-based and People-based.
Rule #2: Not Everything is Equally Important in the Grand Scheme of Things.
Rule #3: Everyone in the World Makes Mistakes. It doesn't have to ruin your day.
Rule #4: Honesty is Different than Diplomacy
Rule #5: Being Polite is Appropriate in any Situation.
Rule #6: Not Everyone Who is Nice to Me is My Friend.
I highly recommend this book. Tomorrow I'm going to be filling in for a nearby
pastor who is going away for the weekend, and I have to do a children's sermon. I had already decided to print out a copy of a traffic light, and talk about how "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right"--two red lights don't make a green light...to the assembled young kids at the front of the congregation. Much to my surprise, when I started to read the book, Temple quoted that in the first paragraph of her first chapter as an example of a rule that helped her in her childhood in the 50s.
By the way, if we could get the neurotypical population to understand Rule
number 1, we could have a lot better inclusive school system and society.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2007
I am a teacher and we are the parents of a child with Asperger's Disorder who has many of the same issues that both authors had to deal with as children. This book is so extremely insightful and such a huge assistance for educators to see how and what they say to children has an affect upon a child's behaviors - good and bad. As a parent this book is a reaffirmation thay with love and patience - and consistency - good things can and do come true.
I would highly recommend this book to any person who has a difficult child in their home and wants to better understand the positions from which that child may be working. This book is for parents of any child, not just a child with autism.
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2006
I just finished reading this book. I have to tell you that it is the best book on understanding social relationships and Autism/Asperger's, that I have ever read. The unique perspective that the authors give on how they, themselves, overcame so many social misconceptions and misunderstandings, is one that is uncompared. As two adults with ASD, the information they have to offer is invaluable. I highly recommend this for anyone that works or lives with someone with ASD/Asperger's.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2006
What an extraordinary book by Temple and Sean. I have read many of their books, but this one was the best. They really helped me to understand the difficulties social interaction from their points of view. It is fascinating to me the perspective that they give. It is a real behind-the-scenes look at the way that someone with ASD views and interprets things that others say and do. Knowing that being socially-adept is a challenge for individuals with ASD, the insight which they provide on how they have overcome so many of these challenges is really positive and encouraging.
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2006
I teach courses in autism at the graduate level and I am always looking for good autobiographical piece for students to gain the first person perspective. I have read other books by these authors and particularly appreciate how this book provides the social perspective of two very different people on the spectrum. Sean wants to engage with others socially while Temple prefers the more isolated existence and has learned how to survive. It particularly helps the reader to understand the great variation of social abilities and needs that exists among those with ASD. Since we (my students and I) provide social skills groups to children with ASD, this is a great resource for helping us understand the differences in perception as as well as the compensatory strategies that exist for individuals with ASD.