Is school a positive or negative experience for your child? How is your child doing academically, emotionally, and socially in school? As a parent, you want your child to succeed in all areas and we have the perfect parenting book to recommend, Autism Parenting: Practical Strategies for a Positive School Experience by Connie Hammer. It has over 300 tips for parents to enhance their child’s school success!
Autism Parenting helps parents do everything they can to make sure their child arrives at school ready, willing, and available for learning. Connie Hammer’s practical advice is immediately doable and well within your control. Parents do not need to spend money on equipment or hours of therapy to see positive changes in their child.
The team at Special Needs Book Review is always impressed with the resources written by Connie Hammer and her coaching sessions. Now overwhelmed parents can turn to her 326 page Autism Parenting guide and find expert advice for helping their challenged child reach his full potential. “Watch your child blossom!” says Connie Hammer on her web site.
Features we love in Autism Parenting
The Review Checklists at the end of most chapters summarize the key points, and highlight what needs to be done to reach each goal. You can download and print the checklists from her website. Connie suggests to post them on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror, for example, as a visible reminder to help you remain on task.
The section at the end that lists Acronyms/Terms Frequently Used in Special Education.
Ms. Hammer’s conversational, uplifting, friendly style of writing comforts and motivates parents. For example, page 88 of Autism Parenting: “Get off to a good start in the morning. Avoid rushing, eat a healthy breakfast, play soft music, maintain a routine, use low lighting, etc., before your child goes to school. Share information with your child’s teacher about what works best to reduce his anxiety, so his brain’s potential for learning is maximized. Fill in the blanks below with a list of the things you know about your child…”
Any page says, “You hold the key to unlock your child’s potential. You are in charge of your child’s environment, and you alone have the ability to shape it into something that works for your unique child. I’m going to empower you to help your child be in the best place possible when he arrives at school… Parenting is forever a fine balancing act of caring for your child’s needs, and teaching them to become independent and care for themselves…”
Links to Posts About Connie Hammer
At the end of this post you will find links to four other posts we have about the helpful resources written by Connie Hammer and our awesome two part interview with her.
Who is Connie Hammer?
Connie Hammer has been coaching parents of children with special needs for many years. She has over 25 years experience as social worker, counselor and parent educator. She supports parents through their difficult time raising challenging children. Want to know more about her programs and coaching services? Visit her web site.
Stop struggling and enter into a coaching partnership with Ms. Hammer:
- Find the emotional and social support you need
- Deal with difficult issues; sleep, toilet training, discipline, mealtime issues, child care/respite services. . .
- Negotiate school systems and advocate for your child with ASD
- Handle transitions and coordination of services
- Nurture and strengthen your other family relationships
- Address safety issues for your ASD child
Guest Post by Connie Hammer
Practical Strategies for a Positive School Experience
What is the book about?
Autism Parenting: Practical Strategies for a Positive School Experience empowers parents, caregivers, and family members of children on the autism spectrum, to positively impact their child’s educational experience. This comprehensive guide pinpoints what areas—academically, emotionally, and/or socially— a child may struggle in and provides practical strategies for them to arrive at school ready, willing, and available for learning.
Just imagine a future when your child goes to school willingly and gets there on time… When he says he likes his teacher, feels safe, has friends and enjoys learning… A time when she comes home from school with a smile on her face because she has had another good day!
This handy guide will help you create this new reality – one that minimizes your child’s school related anxieties and increases his or her social competence. Where morning routines and homework time are stress-free and you approach special education meetings with confidence and a smile.
The interactive checklists at the end of most chapters are designed to help parents chart a course towards a more positive school experience. These printable documents keep parents focused and guide them to implement the strategies mentioned throughout the book. Start now to create a more autism-friendly, sensory-friendly environment for your child – at home and at school – that will enhance healthy, overall development.
Why did I write it?
Autism Parenting: Practical Strategies for a Positive School Experience was written to help parents and caretakers acknowledge the true power they have to positively impact their child’s educational experience. This book affirms a parent’s role as leading educator for their child. All parents possess the tools to be great teachers but these skills are often buried deep within a sea of confusion and doubt that has accumulated over time. This book guides you to unearth and refine your teaching ability to benefit your unique child and deliver her to school ready, willing and available for learning.
Throughout my counseling career I have shared the information in this book with hundreds of parents. Autism Parenting is my attempt to expand my reach to all parents to make school better for their child. The strategies presented address ways to overcome school and social anxiety, tips to create positive transitions in and out of school as well as early morning routines, and tactics for surviving the special education system. It stresses the importance to advocate for your child to be defined by his strengths and talents, not by a label that implies deficits. With this perspective of presumed competence you can direct the focus on your child’s strengths and interests to improve his or her quality of school life.
When I was a new parent I was overwhelmed and often felt lost and lonely. I became a mom early in life and I struggled with a very premature infant that had special needs. Gratefully, I crossed paths with a woman I called my SOS, a Supportive Objective Someone, who guided me to grow and thrive as a parent and teacher for my child. This connection had such a positive impact on me I decided I wanted to give back someday. Ever since then, my mission has been to help parents. This book is one more way to provide support and guidance to others on their parenting journey, especially when it comes to their child’s education.
I created this book to be user-friendly with distinct Parts, Chapters, and bold bullet points that make it easy to find what you’re looking for. I also added interactive checklists at the end of most chapters that are designed to help you implement the strategies you read to generate the changes you, and your child, desire. You can download these printable documents to use as visual reminders and display them for maximum results. Doing so will keep you focused and provide you with a feeling of accomplishment as you check each item off.
Autism Parenting: Practical Strategies for a Positive School Experience will make a positive impact on your child’s school experience!
Any parent or person who cares for an individual that struggles in school, especially those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, or other special need.
Excerpts from Autism Parenting: Practical Strategies for a Positive School Experience
From Part 1, Chapter 3 – Labels
“Your child is unique. Every person is unique. All children, every individual on this planet, have skills they are good at and skills they find challenging. Therefore, why do we try to put individuals in a box and say, “He has this label, so we’ll place him here and give him these therapies?” Or, “She has this diagnosis so we will teach her this way.”
I believe ALL children need to have their educational experience tailored to the way they learn best—whether the instructor is the teacher at school, or the parent at home.
Even though this book is written with individuals on the autism spectrum or other special needs in mind, the strategies and tactics I present will work with ANY child.
Whether a child has been given a diagnosis or not, I encourage all parents I work with to:
- zero in on their child’s distinctive abilities, and areas of difficulty,
- gather information about the way their child relates to and experiences the world,
- detect if their child is a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner,
- take into consideration their child’s sensory issues, and
- determine what triggers their child’s anxiety and causes the child stress.
Then I encourage them to look at the world through their child’s particular lens, and use that perspective—autistic or not—to customize their parenting and teaching to it.
That’s a tall order, but it’s all extremely important in order to help your child blossom!”
From Part 3, Chapter 5 -
Is My Child Anxious about School?
“Anxiety can be the biggest roadblock to your child’s school success. The best way to acquire knowledge, and retain it, is to learn in a stress- free environment. Therefore, feeling safe is a necessary precondition to learning. Why? Because we learn best when our minds are calm. Studies show that learning in an environment that we find pleasant and relaxing can activate the flow of chemicals in the brain necessary to stimulate learning.
Taking the time to remove anxiety provoking triggers to make the setting comfortable, predictable, and calm, optimizes the ability of your child’s brain to produce new neural pathways. So when you, or your child’s teacher manipulate the environment to create one that is safe and structured, your child’s brain will be more available to accept new information.
The opposite of calm is anxious. Anxiety is experienced at increased rates in children with autism. And as I mentioned earlier, anxiety can quickly escalate into that high alert state—the “fight or flight” mode, which originates in the primitive part of the brain called the amygdala, a part of the limbic system.
The limbic system is responsible for how we translate, code, and respond to sensory information. It mediates emotion, and is the anxiety switch for the human brain. What you want to do is keep this switch turned off as much as possible so that your child does not lash out or become inaccessible and hard to reach.”
What are people saying about it?
“Connie Hammer’s advice to parents of children with autism is compassionate, sound, and from the heart. Autism Parenting: Strategies for a Positive School Experience will help you to improve your child’s education by improving your relationship with your child. From knowing your child’s educational rights, to handling anxiety, to teaching your child to be an effective self-advocate, you don’t have to face the challenges alone. With her clear, conversational style, and thorough, easy-to-follow checklists, Connie is the trusted professional that you need to set yourself and your child up for success each day of each school year.”
—Bobbi Sheahan, co-author of What I Wish I’d Known About Parenting a Child With Autism (Future Horizons, 2011).
“Autism Parenting: Strategies for a Positive School Experience is an encouraging, sensible, and inspirational guide that will help not only families, but also teachers and therapists. Through the lens of a child’s school experience, the author gives 300 strategies to make life easier for both you and your child. The tips are presented in easily digestible sections that are consistently positive and practical. Autism Parenting will leave readers with renewed energy, hope, and initiative!”
—Dr. Debra Moore, Psychologist, Coauthor with Dr. Temple Grandin of The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults
About the Author, Connie Hammer:
I am a parent educator, family consultant, and PCI Certified Parent Coach. I have passionately supported parents of children for over 30 years after I earned an undergraduate and graduate degree in social work.
In 1985, I founded a non-profit agency to prevent child abuse and worked in the public school system for 17 years as a K-8 social worker.
I established my parent coaching business in 2006 that currently specializes in providing parents of children on the autism spectrum with the support and resources they need. My online business enables me to work with parents all over the English speaking world via phone or Skype coaching sessions.
To learn more about the support services I offer please visit http://www.parentcoachingforautism.com
You can also find me here: