Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships 2nd Edition by Dr Temple Grandin and Sean Barron

Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships 2nd Edition by Dr Temple Grandin and Sean Barron

This post introduces you to a very interesting book about two autistic individuals. Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism, Second Edition by Temple Grandin, Ph.D.; Sean Barron and edited by Veronica Zysk came out in January 2017. The book delves into the minds of two autistic individuals and shares not just their thoughts, but their ways of thinking.  We learn how this affects their social behavior and why some aspects of their lives have been so difficult. You will learn the differences between visual vs verbal thinkers.

Usually our author bios are at the end of our posts; however, by reading about the authors you will understand more what this book is about.

About Temple Grandin, Veronica Zysk, and Sean Barron:
 

Temple Grandin, Ph.D. (photo), Sean Barron authors and edited by Veronica Zysk- Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism, Second EditionTemple Grandin earned her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois and became an associate professor at Colorado State University. Dr. Grandin is one of the most respected individuals with high-functioning autism in the world. She presents at conferences nationwide, helping thousands of parents and professionals understand how to help individuals with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and PDD. She is the author of Emergence: Labeled AutisticThinking in Pictures, Animals in Translation (which spent many weeks on The New York Times’ Best-Seller List), The Autistic Brain, and The Loving Push, co-written with Debra Moore, Ph.D.  One of the most celebrated — and effective — animal advocates on the planet, Dr. Grandin revolutionized animal movement systems and spearheaded reform resulting in the humane treatment of the world’s agricultural animals.

Special Needs Book Review has reviewed many of Dr. Temple Grandin’s books. Find the reviews and where to buy them at the end of this post.

 
Veronica Zysk has been working in the field of autism since 1991. She served as Executive Director of the Autism Society of Temple Grandin, Ph.D. , Sean Barron authors and edited by Veronica Zysk (photo)- Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism, Second EditionAmerica from 1991-1996 and joined Future Horizons, where she was the visionary for the first national magazine on autism spectrum disorders, the Autism Asperger’s Digest, winner of multiple Gold Awards for excellence. In addition to her writing collaborations with Ellen Notbohm (1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s; Ten Things Every Student with Autism Wishes You Knew), she has co-authored and/or edited 14 other books on autism and Asperger’s, working with noted authors such as Temple Grandin, James Ball, and Michelle Garcia Winner. Veronica makes her home in the beautiful western mountains of North Carolina.
 
Temple Grandin, Ph.D. , Sean Barron (photo) authors and edited by Veronica Zysk - Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism, Second EditionSean Barron is an interesting, intelligent man who has faced the challenges of being on the autism spectrum, but, today, he has progressed to the point that it is difficult to realize that he once was truly impacted by autism/Asperger’s syndrome. Sean is a graduate of Youngstown State University and works as a reporter for the Youngstown Vindicator. He has multiple degrees and his latest degree is in journalism. He’s a freelance writer and lives independently. Sean co-authored There’s A Boy in Here with his mother, Judy Barron.
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Overview: Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism Dr. Temple Grandin and Sean Barron use their colorful life stories to explain the unwritten rules and patterns of social relationships. They create guidelines for living and working with others and illustrate their applications for even the most complex situations. The authors’ insights are invaluable to anyone who has ever felt “outside the norm.” Temple’s logical mind controlled her social behavior. She interacted with many adults and other children, experiencing varied social situations. Logic informed her decision to obey social rules and avoid unpleasant consequences.

Sean’s emotions controlled his social behavior. Baffled by social rules, he was often isolated and friendless. Both Temple and Sean ultimately came to terms with the social world and found their places in it. Their powerful stories will enthrall readers, and the lessons they learned will enlighten you, whether you are a person with autism, a caregiver in the autism community, or just someone interested in an “outsider view” of society.

Part ONE: Two Perspectives on Social Thinking

The first part of the book is written by Dr. Temple Gandin and she summarizes her life which was greatly influenced by her mother and a 1950’s upbringing. She was born in 1947 (age 70), in Boston, Massachusetts to Eustacia Cutler, Richard Grandin. Temple Grandin’s logical mind dictated her social behavior. Her caregivers pushed her to interact with other children and adults from an early age. Logic helped her to learn social rules to try to blend in.

The following are excerpts and information from the book showing you the way Temple Grandin thinks and sees the world:

  • Mother prepared me for the world  giving me the skills and develop my talents to graduate from school and university, find a job, and live independently.
  • Mother forced a strong sense of self-worth.
  • Temple did not feel caregivers were trying to fix her.
  • Temple was highly motivated…her mother wanted her to try LOTS of things. She exposed her to many things so she could be well rounded.
  • She developed lots of talents BUT Talent is not enough…Temple always says one must have manners, be polite, be clean.
  • Parents must be detectives and figure out what their child is good at and what they like and what motivates them.
  • High school was the worst years of her life!
    She did not fit in. Kids had moved on in their interests (dating, movies) but not her. When kids do not fit in bullying starts. She thinks high functioning autistics (HFA) have a worst time in school.
  • Start teaching social skills in younger grades.
  • At age 13,  she was already exposed to the world of work. Autistics must find a match for their skills and interests – learn to be responsible and have good work ethics. Develop a talent one can transform into a job in the future.
  • One must have a satisfying job to be happy.
  • Hobbies are rewarding and can end up as jobs or job related.
  • Develop skills other people need, value and want, and become an expert.
  • Find a mentor to guide you.
  • Work is more than a paycheck and livelihood; it is the key to a satisfying & productive life.
  •  Being a SLOB is never OK.
  • NT learn by observation; autistics learn by direct experience doing. She reads a lot to learn.
  • Temple can separate emotions and facts.
  • Sensory issues (SPD) must be addressed for other aspects of socialization to work.
  •  Social Functional Skills…learn the rules of etiquette, politeness.
  • Some people with ASD do not understand or experience any emotional attachment or romantic love.
  • These days the sense of community is gone. It’s a me-me-society. Families are scattered. Some autistics have no sense of belonging. Caregivers have low expectations of kids with autism– the bar is too low – kids goof off. Autistic children must stretch outside their comfort zone.

In the second section we learn how Sean Barron has very different autistic characteristics and how he struggled in his early years because he did not fit in. He wrote, “My autism brought me much misery and unhappiness, and robbed me of my childhood. I was the kid to be bullied and the same kids followed me in each grade and got only better at tormenting me.” He had a chronic fear/dread. He coped by stimming and fixating on details of things. He was so engrossed in details that he missed the larger picture that gave detail its context. He preferred to be left alone. Already in grade 1 and 2 he was a challenge and discipline problem. In middle school he was sent to a residential treatment facility for kids with severe problems.

Find a copy of this very interesting book to learn how Temple Grandin and Sean Barron manage to become successful adults. Many with autism or their caregivers will be able to “find themselves” in either of these two very different ways autism plays out.

PART TWO:  Two Minds: Two Paths 

Grandin and Barron have TWO different ways of thinking and perception  – different styles of relating with the world.  Sean lived in fear. He lived in a shell, had tunnel vision, and lived under a dark cloud. To be less afraid he focused on details, manipulated objects and tried to control his fear through repetition and had a thirst for predictability.

Temple thinks in pictures but has NO emotions associated with the images she sees in her mind. She feels you cannot turn a non-social autistic person into a social one.  Some will become expert actors on the stage of life but it is just a part …our happiness will be derived from the things we DO, not the emotional connections we form.

 

Temple thinks we should be teaching people with autism to adapt to the social world around them, while still retaining the essence of who they are, including their autism. Not all of autism is bad; capitalize on their talents and teach them to compensate for their deficiencies.

 PART THREE: The Ten Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships 

The authors have settled on 10 basic social rules autistics should be taught (there are billions) to be taught over time that will grow with the child as he blossoms. The last 300 pages of this 425 page book explain how these rules can be taught and why they have been singled out as being important. How they are taught will vary with each individual based on their thinking pattern (visual versus verbal) and the other brain and body challenges present in the person.

The Ten Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships include:

Rule #1: Rules are Not Absolute. They are Situation-based and People-based
Rule #2: Not Everything is Equally Important in the Grand Scheme of Things
Rule #3: Everyone in the World Makes Mistakes. It Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Day.
Rule #4: Honesty is Different than Diplomacy
Rule #5: Being Polite is Appropriate in Any Situation
Rule #6: Not Everyone Who is Nice to Me is My Friend
Rule #7: People Act Differently in Public than They Do in Private
Rule #8: Know When You’re Turning People Off
Rule #9: Fitting in is Often Tied to Looking and Sounding Like You Fit In
Rule #10: People are Responsible for Their Own Behaviors

One of my favorite part of the book is Temple’s Epilogue page 420 where she explains how an individual becomes part of the social world surrounding him by opening many doors throughout his life.

Special Needs Book Review Recommends Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships
We highly recommend Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism, Second Edition. All our paths cross those of people with autism every day. This book is a great resource for neurotypicals, other autistics, teachers, therapists, caregivers  that need help understanding the wide range of people on the autism spectrum.
Follow Dr. Temple Grandin:

READ our Reviews and Interviews:

The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful by Debra Moore Ph.D. and Temple Grandin Ph.D.Buy Books:

  • Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism, Second Edition (April 1, 2017) Amazon.com  Future Horizon, Inc
  • The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults by Debra Moore Ph.D. and Temple Grandin Ph.D. Future Horizons, Amazon.com  Amazon.ca

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.
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