The Autism Playbook for Teens
Imagination-Based Mindfulness Activities to Calm Yourself, Build Independence, and Connect with Others
The Instant Help Solutions Series
Published by: New Harbinger Publications
Imprint: Instant Help
“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 of Thinking 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.
“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
“Mindfulness methods and exercises to increase positive thinking can help reduce anxiety and improve self-esteem. 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 of Thinking in Pictures