Autism: Parenting an Autistic Teenage Girl – Lance Childs
As I was uploading the image to use as the front cover I noticed there was a spelling mistake on the front page – the second line actually reads ‘Parenting An Autistis Teenage Girl’. I checked Amazon UK and there is also a spelling mistake on the front cover used there too… I know spelling and grammar aren’t the most important things on the planet, but this is the front cover we’re talking about.
Anyway, this is the partner book to another I reviewed by the same author (Autism: Parenting an Autistic Teenage Boy). I thought this book would be quite similar to that book – just with information specific to teenage girls. Well, not quite so much. This book is a bit of a mess. There is a single page introduction and then the very first thing that is discussed is talking about the menstrual cycle with an autistic teenage girl. No prior information – just straight in with that as the opening chapter. The information given is initially reasonable, it’s not very well explained so you would have to go and get further information yourself, but it’s a starting point of sorts. Then the book delivers this:
Most of the tampons on the market today are made of chemicals that might be toxic when placed inside the body. It is a good thing that there are organic and untreated feminine hygiene products, pads, and tampons sold online, at health food stores, or local grocery stores that you can find today.
Do you know what, depending on the self-help skills of an autistic teenage girl; I might advise that parents don’t try and teach her at the beginning how to use a tampon…but for reasons other than I think it would poison her. I looked on Amazon for these organic products and they’re pretty pricey compared to the ones you can get in Asda and Tesco. If this book were longer then I would say fair enough, discuss the pros and cons of organic vs non-organic but all this does is basically semi-shames parents into thinking they have to spend 3x the amount of money on pads for their daughter which they might not be able to afford.
Anyway, then there’s similar advice to that given in the Teenage Boy book about socialising and roleplay for social situations, which is fine. Then there’s a jump to discussions about the different schooling that your teenager could receive:
However, you may want to send her to a school where she will be understood and taught well due to her autism. This is where parents can get help from institutions due to Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
There was nothing about this in the other book, and then I realised that there was little more than a few sentences in the other book dedicated to the teenage boy specific problems like unexpected erections, wet dreams and so on. Then there’s the behaviour section, and if you’ve read the other review then remember that I highlighted my issue with the fact that it said aggressiveness was a common autistic problem. Well in this book under ‘Bad Behaviour’ we get this:
Children on the autism spectrum, even a teenage girl like yours, will show difficult behaviour. You’d understand why they would react this way if you also see the world as a confusing, isolating, and scary place for them, in addition to their lacking social and communication skills.
Asides from being grammatically incorrect and very clunky to read, it’s a stark difference to the way behaviour was discussed in the other book, a much more reasonable view than the one presented in the teenage boy book.
There’s then some work on building communication skills and transitions and visual supports, and all of that is pretty good (albeit brief). Then the book jumps again to discussing OCD and autism as co-morbid, and advocates Biochemical treatments including chelation therapy, and ‘Behavioural methods’ which are basically described as ABA. Definitely not so good.
This book is a mess with some good advice sprinkled on top. Instead of putting out two sub-par books, the author would have been far better combining the two books and then discussing gender specific subject matters under different chapters. Obviously that would still have included things like advising chelation therapy (from this book) and preventing stimming (from the teenage boy book – which incidentally is not discussed in this book); but at least you would have had one okay book with some rubbish in it. Instead you get one below average and non-specific book for teenage boys, and one mess of a book for teenage girls.