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

1 comment:

  1. Yes, there's more to life than just therapy. However, we wouldn't be where we are today without it. Tough-skinned grandmother--I am not! However, I do try to venture out because when it works, we gather those successful times like treasures to be remembered. So thanks for the book recommendation! My grandson has autism, and there are times when he appears to be typical, and then unexpectedly the wires get tripped! However, I sometimes muster up my strength and courage, prepare myself with lots of "what if-options" and go for it. We love going to the WHYY studio for their special Y-Kids programs. Staff there are helpful and understanding. Check out small local theaters, too. I took my grandson (age 6) and was REALLY brave to include his sister (age 4) to see "How To Train Your Dragon" (not the 3-D version).
    Talked about the movie before going and the expected behavior for staying safe. Guess you know all know about "social stories"! During the movie, it didn't matter that at times he talked out loud, for when he looked at me with the eyes of childlike wonder and delight... when he didn't want it to be over... well this grandmother, cried happy tears. His sister got the gift of just hanging out with her brother and cuddling close to her Bubbie--just a regular fun day! It was worth all the preparation to face the challenge! So it can't be spontaneous. So he needs to know what might happen to keep his anxiety in check. So I have to do this alone. So I can't always have everything "covered", and every time might not be successful. But when it happens -- we gather happy memories. Priceless!