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Socially ADDept: A Manual for Parents of Children with ADHD and/or Learning Disabilities

Socially ADDept: A Manual for Parents of Children with ADHD and/or Learning Disabilities
by Janet Z. Giler

Eminently readable, this book belongs on your bookshelf...but will undoubtedly not spend much time there. It is a book that will be used and referred to often!

Book Description
Socially ADDept helps parents teach the hidden rules of communication to children who are having social problems. The manual is in a workbook format and guides parents through each topic through a series of exercises and suggested dialogue. Some of the topics covered are how to handle teasing, use appropriate body language, comprehend jokes and sarcasm, and join groups effectively. Socially ADDept is easy to read and use.


From the Publisher
While there are many books on ADHD, there aren't many that are as concrete and user-friendly as Socially ADDept. Every parent of a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or learning problems will want to own this book.

 

5 out of 5 stars Kid¿s Guide to Making Friends, May 29, 2000

  Reviewer: A reader from Lincoln, NE

When a friend recommended "Socially ADDept," Dr. Janet Z. Giler's manual of social skills for children with ADHD, I accepted the suggestion with some reluctance. Like every other parent with an ADHD kid, I'm already drowning in pedagogical advice. If raising one of these children were as simple as "love and logic" or "parenting without punishment" these kids wouldn't be any harder to raise than all the others. Pedagogical slogans sell books, but they don't work with bundles of hyperactivity like my Alexander, who's incorrigible social skills have made it difficult to find a baby-sitter willing to spend an evening with him, let alone a teacher willing to address his academics.

While many schools have programs to improve reading, writing, and arithmetic, they lack any formal curriculum for the fourth "R"- arguably the most important one- social refinement. Enter Giler, who's manual for parents of children with ADHD and/or learning disabilities brings a refreshingly clear, simple, step-by-step, common sense approach to teaching social skills. Those basic, self-evident skills that most of us learn by osmosis, but completely elude ADHD kids like my Alexander.

Giler develops eight, concise lesson plans that guide parents in teaching kids how to develop congenial relations with peers, teachers and siblings. From proper greetings to managing anger, "Socially ADDept" deciphers the complex rules of none-verbal language into friendly, bite-sized morsels that kids can understand. Somewhat like a "How Things Work" of behavior, untangling tricky situations like joining an ongoing game, in simple step-by-step fashion. Step 1) "Say 'hi.' 2) Pay attention to see if you get a friendly response. 3) Make a comment about the game. Then wait until you get a friendly response before asking, 4) 'Can I play?'"

I read through Giler's chapter on "active" listening with the doubting bias of a parent who's been-there, done that. Just come to our house for a visit, and you'll hear the mantra "Listen to me!" repeated with prickly frustration. Our son, Alexander, "hears" what we're saying, but doesn't give a slightest hint of interest. We reprimand him, and he replies with exasperation, "I am listening!" His ears work and his mind process all the input. But he ignores the body language that closes the "feedback loop," as Giler describes it, letting us know we're being heard.

With "Socially ADDept" in hand I walked into Alexander's room. He sat on the floor with an origami book, folding a sheet of blue paper into a peacock. As usual, he didn't even look up at me when I told him about the "friendship" lessons I wanted us try. Following Giler's suggestion, I asked him to list his best qualities; I knew this question would get him talking. While Alexander described himself with great earnestness, I mirrored his inattentive stile of listing. Alexander's voice grew louder and his tone more anxious. I just kept looking through my book, as if in another world. Then when I could hear his frustration peaking I turned toward him and asked, "Do you think I am listening?" Of course, the answer was "no." But now I had his attention. So I told him I had a book that, given a chance, could help him become more popular. He liked this idea. We worked through the seven page chapter on "Conversational Skills," learning how to keep eye contact, lean forward slightly, nod, make guttural sounds indicating agreement, and ask appropriate questions. To my surprise, Alexander enjoyed the lesson and asked me to leave the book in his room. For him, the simple facts of none verbal behavior were a mystery revealed.

The most common social errors made by ADHD children are, misreading body language, using "tone" inappropriately, violating other's physical boundaries, perseverating on topics, and failing to show interest in others. Giler helps parents and kids come to terms these social errors by teaching ten basic social skills: 1) listening and responding, 2) smiling and asking questions, 3) greeting others, 4) giving complements, 5) understanding body language and vocal tones, 6) understanding personal space and appropriate touching, 7) joining an ongoing group, 8) sharing and cooperating, 9) ignoring teasing, and 10) managing anger. My son particularly liked the section on the "Social Behaviors of Popular Children."

People can compensate for lacking performance skills, like poor spelling, but "there is no way to compensate for poor social skills," Giler explains. Without basic social graces kids fail. In "Socially ADDept," the elementary rules of interaction, like turn-taking and understanding personal space, are introduced and explored in simple, kid-friendly manner. While not a children's book, this will be an addition to your library your kids will appreciate. You'll appreciate Giler's straightforward, practical style, providing clear examples, new skills, and no guilt trips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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