Monday, May 10, 2010

"More to life than just therapy" from Robert Naseef, Ph.D.

Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun!, a new book by Lisa Jo Rudy demonstrates that there is more to life than therapy for families of children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. True to its title, the author presents us with a treasure chest of ideas for getting out, exploring, and having fun. Families of children with autism, as well as other special needs, struggle to arrive at a place that comes naturally to most “typical” families. This book is a gentle guide for families struggling to find enjoyment in the communities they live and work in.

If there is one word that describes how parents experience life after their child is diagnosed, it is how alone they feel. Generally they jump into learning about the disorder and its therapies and doing all they can to help their child. This is the normal response, but the family becomes entrapped in a lifestyle that is often devoid of fun and engagement that is so vital for healing the hearts broken initially by the diagnosis.

While therapies are vital, lives that revolve almost exclusively around therapy can become virtual prisons. Parents who imagined becoming soccer, or softball, or ballet moms and dads become therapy moms and dads. Lisa Jo Rudy’s passion for inclusive communities comes from a zest for living life fully. With intelligence and insight, she helps the reader understand how real shared interests are fertile common ground for real engagement, interaction, and learning.

Sometimes the simplest principles can be profound, for engagement is central to all of the behavioral, developmental, and educational therapies and approaches to autism and other developmental disorders. Whether a child is verbal or not, there are enough strategies and tips about a variety of interests to get any family started.

In my years of experience personally and professionally, it is finding mutually fun activities that helps to promote the relationships that families crave and deserve. While we might feel powerless in the face of conditions on the autism spectrum, we have tremendous possibilities for meaningful lives and family relationships. This book is a virtual GPS for fun in the community.

Learn more about the book on Lisa Jo Rudy’s blog at

Also read her commentaries on autism at