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The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations Paperback – July 1, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The Hidden Curriculum was written with a specific audience in mind children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) but the content could be useful to any educator working with students who need additional coaching on how to behave around others. -National Education Association (NEA)

A few years ago, I was speaking with a friend who is on the spectrum when he noted that life would be much easier if someone would just show me the rules. With the publication of The Hidden Curriculum, Myles, Trautman, and Schelvan have done just that. Utilizing concrete examples of hidden curriculum items across myriad potential environments, the authors have provided families, professionals and persons on the spectrum with a truly practical approach to understanding the hidden rules associated with the complex social dialogue of life at home, in school and in the community. The Hidden Curriculum should be considered necessary reading. -Peter F. Gerhardt, EdD, Gerhardt Autism/Aspergers Consultation Group, LLC

The Hidden Curriculum is a must for all the parents of children who struggle with day-to-day situations. My daughter Lindsey and I found this book to include many wonderful tips. These tips are taken for granted by many, but they can make all the difference for a child with an autism spectrum disorder. -Deb Grammas, parent of child with Asperger Syndrome

Navigating our dynamic social world is one of the greatest challenges individuals with autism spectrum disorders have to deal with every day, hour, and minute. This book is filled with the practical and critical information that will provide individuals with autism the opportunity for a higher quality of life. This book should be required reading for all professionals working on transition planning for individuals with autism. A must read! -Shawn A. Henry, executive director, Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence; co-author, The Comprehensive Autism Planning System (CAPS) for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders and Related Disabilities: Integrating Best Practices Throughout the Student s Day

Teaching the hidden curriculum of social rules is one of the most helpful things we do to support individuals with autism. We build social success by identifying the subtle rules and expectations embedded in social situations and providing guidance as to how to follow them. The Hidden Curriculum is an invaluable tool in these efforts. It tells you what to teach, how to teach it, and how to adapt your instruction to fit different situations. This book is useful for new parents, teachers, and professionals just learning how to help people with autism and remains a vital resource to experienced providers who have been working in the field for years. It is a versatile guide, applying to a wide range of situations and individuals with different needs. And this new edition contains even more curricular content, examples, and strategies to apply. It is a user-friendly, practical guide that helps us to provide the building blocks of social development. --Jim Loomis, PhD,

What an invaluable resource for family members, service providers, and friends supporting individuals who have difficulty navigating the unwritten rules of different environments and who struggle with everyday social situations. This is your go-to resource! The short vignettes provided throughout each chapter allow readers to understand the true complexity of the hidden curriculum. Quick to read, yet filled with examples and practical tips for addressing and teaching the hidden curriculum, this is one book that you will definitely recommend to others. Enjoy! -Amy Bixler Coffin, MS, Autism Center program director, Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence; co-author, Out and About: Preparing Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders to Participate in Their Communities

This remarkable guidebook is invaluable for helping persons with social-cognitive difficulties make sense of unspoken rules and expectations that govern how we interact with others in everyday life. In a well-written, straightforward and friendly style, the authors provide excellent insights and sensible tools that draw from a wealth of research and experience. The Hidden Curriculum is sure to rank high on my list of recommended resources. -Pamela Wolfberg, PhD, San Francisco State University & Autism Institute on Peer Relations and Play; author, Peer Play and the Autism Spectrum: The Art of Guiding Children s Socialization and Imagination

The Hidden Curriculum clarifies exactly what cues and mores are invisible to us who have Asperger Syndrome and related disorders. In addition to individuals who have social-cognitive disorders, this is a recommended read for every muggle, excuse me, non-autistic person, who interacts with those of us on the autism spectrum. --Jennifer McIlwee Myers, Aspie-at-Large

About the Author

BRENDA SMITH MYLES, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Kansas, who writes and speaks internationally on Asperger Syndrome and autism. The author and co-author of numerous publications, Myles’ recent books include Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Practical Solutions for School Success, Asperger Syndrome and Sensory Issues: Practical Solutions for Making Sense of the World and Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns.

MELISSA L. TRAUTMAN, M.S. Ed., teaches children with autism in the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kansas. Previously, she was a special education teacher for elementary students in Lincoln, Nebraska.

RONDA L. SCHELVAN, M.S. Ed., teaches in the Kelso, Washington, School District, where she serves as co-chair of Southwest Washington's Autism Consulting Cadre. She has over 25 years’ experience in the field of special education, including extensive experience working with students and families with special needs.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 107 pages
  • Publisher: Autism Asperger Publishing Company (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931282609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931282604
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kristi A. Sakai on April 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
One of the missing components to the concept of teaching "social skills" to children and young adults on the autism spectrum, is that instructors focus on textbook manners instead of teaching REAL life practical knowledge. The Hidden Curriculum explains that every society has unstated rules, the things that no one explains to you, but which you are supposed to pick up somehow on your own. Remember how awkward and geeky most of us were in Jr. High? And there were always the "cool kids" who somehow knew just how to dress, just what to say and meanwhile you (and I) were clueless? It's because they understood the unstated rules, they had an unkanny ability to pick up the exact tools necessary for "coolness." As we grow up, we learn better how to adapt to social situations, we know how to behave in a variety of settings, even perhaps cross culturally. Adults grow into a sense of ease in our surroundings, we know what we are supposed to do. Now, imagine that you never got over that awkward phase, you were perpetually spending your life roaming around trying to figure out the world with little to go on. No one pulled you aside and explained, "This is how it is, Kid." That's exactly what it's like for our kids on the spectrum. Well, here comes The Hidden Curriculum to the rescue! Not only does it explain many of these "unstated rules" (many of which are humorous--who doesn't know you should take tuna in your school lunch because it stinks? many of our AS kids!) It also goes beyond to explain how to uncover them. It highlights how crucial it is for us as parents, as educators and just as a society to literally pull our AS folks aside and say, "These are the rules." For example, "Don't pick your nose." Good advice right? But p-leeeze, everybody picks their nose! (Okay, not me, but everybody else!Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This is another book that people on the autism/Asperger's (a/A) spectrum have been praying for! This sterling work helps decode and identify tacit Social Codes & Rules. For many people on the a/A spectrum, learning these nonverbal subtleties is a major challenge. a/A related conditions are neurobiological and affect sensory processing and integration as well as communication. People on the a/A spectrum encounter a wide range of social difficulties, many of which are addressed in this book.

This work gives good advice on how to make and maintain eye contact; how to position oneself when talking to and listening to another; how to appear natural in practicing these skills. This book also gives a good explanation of how to "read" people socially and how to learn to anticipate possible seeming changes in the Tacit Social Codes & Rules. People with neurotypical (NT) brains already know these Rules and NT readers also can benefit from this book by seeing what people on the a/A spectrum contend with. Rather, people on the a/A spectrum learn these behaviors cognitively as this is not intuitive knowledge among the a/A population. Once the Rules are learned, the next step is understanding when and how and to apply them.

Make a place for this book. It is every a/A navigator's best friend when it comes to improving social skills and interpreting human behavior. It is a bridge from the a/A population to the NT population and moves all, a/A and NT readers alike onto neuro-neutral ground. The information found in this book makes communicating in the NT world so much easier and so much more logical!
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As an "inclusion" third grade teacher, this is the most practical book on the subject of helping young people develop better social skills that I've read. (And I've read quite a few.) It has valuable information for all students, not just Autistic Spectrum Disorder kids. Clear and simple background and discussion on the issue, followed by lists of social mores that kids might not naturally "pick up on." Eye-opening for teachers who think some kids are being purposely rude or silly...

I plan to do mini-lessons daily with my class using the lists in this book.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this book a year ago and it sat on my shelf until today. I dusted it off because I am developing a community-based social skills coaching program for an adolescent with high-functioning Autism. I recalled that the book had a nice list of the hidden curriculum for a variety of social situations (e.g. eating at a restauant, telephone skills, rules for dating, reading body language). There were a few in there that I never would have thought of. This was helpful as a jumping off point for making goals and developing a concise script for the sessions.

There is a section in the book on the strategies to teach the hidden curriculum, but it is limited in content. There is a brief description of a technique, examples of worksheets one could use, but there are no blank reproducible materials of the worksheets they used as examples.

I would recommend this book for those just starting out in the field and teachers or parents who want to know what words to use to explain to their child the "unwritten social rules."

By the way, I would also recommend that you "do not talk about how mucus looks or feels in the throat or looks in your tissue." :)
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