Parenting Children with Special Needs: Tips from Ellen Notbohm’s Books and Interviews

This post is to tell you about Ellen Notbohm and her books on parenting children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. The goal of this blog and our Special Needs Book Review site is to help those parenting children with special needs.  For the launch of our new Special Needs Book Review site we  invited authors to participate in an Author Interview Series. This series has been so popular that it is ongoing. We ask authors to tell us about their books, their work, and their lives.

Many of the authors of the books we review are also parenting children with special needs. Other parents with special needs children are encouraged by their journey. Educators and the general public learn how to help make the journey of families parenting children with special needs more pleasant.  From time to time, I will be posting parts of the interviews on our Special Needs Blog for more parents to benefit from their profound answers.

There is the expression “Start with a bang!” in French, “Commencer sur une bonne note!”.   For our author interview series we certainly did that as our first author interview was with Ellen Notbohm who co-authored this book I reviewed, 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching & Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s, with Veronica Zysk.

Then we reviewed Ellen’s book, Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition and wrote a second interview in 2013 with the author.

From Ellen’s web site we read: “Book author, columnist and mother of sons with autism and ADHD, Ellen Notbohm’s writings on autism, parenting, history, baseball and general interest subjects have been published on every continent (except Antarctica — yet). Ellen is a columnist for Autism Asperger’s Digest magazine (2004-2009, 2011- ) and Children’s Voice (2006- ).”

Ellen Notbohm has accomplished a lot:

  •  Award -Winning Books Recognized Around the World!
  • Over over 300,000 sold in 14 languages.
  • Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew, updated and expanded edition by Ellen Notbohm has won a Bronze medal in the 2013 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. This is a respected award in the independent publishing world, judged by librarians and booksellers particular to each genre.
  • Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew also won 2013 Mom’s Choice Gold Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards evaluates products and services created for children and families in 22 countries.

Part of our first interview with Ellen Notbohm:

Lorna: In her foreword in 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching & Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s, Temple Grandin wrote, “Genuine, common sense advice that all parents and educators can quickly and easily use!”  Tell us about the many “Quick Idea” boxes found throughout your book.

<< Ellen Notbohm: Problems and challenges come in all sizes, and seldom is there only one solution. So while some of the ideas in our book require sustained action of a period of time, sometimes a simple idea is all that’s needed. We sprinkled dozens of these Quick Idea boxes throughout the book. They range through all chapters and include ideas like helping your child remember a rule or story by setting it to music, breaking perseverative behaviour by assigning a task that changes the scenery, using large and small sand timers to develop time concepts and develop patience.

My favourite one: The Behavior Equation: you + me + environment. Behaviors never occur in a vacuum. In the words of author Alice Walker (The Color Purple): “The most important question in the world is, “Why is the child crying?”>>

 Lorna: What are your two best tips for parenting children with special needs

<< Ellen Notbohm: Because all parents, like all children, are different, it’s hard to synthesize such advice down to one or two things.  But since I am asked this question frequently, I do have an answer. It comes from the very last pages of 1001 Great Ideas, so this is one instance when it’s okay to peek at the end of the book first. Here’s Veronica’s and my answer:

“The most important thing parents and teachers can do for their different-learner student is to create and sustain a productive working relationship based on honesty, respect, empathy, commonly shared goals and ideals. Parent-school partnerships do have an emotional layer, and it can sometimes waylay even the best-intentioned participants. Creating and maintaining positive partnerships requires that both parents/caregivers and educators/service providers hold to dynamic actions and attitudes. They must commit a team mentality, with a common goal of creating the best possible educational program for the student, and to resolving issues in a win-win format that is essential to fostering a long-term positive relationship. Respecting and valuing all individuals as individuals must be the cornerstone of all learning, throughout formal education and beyond.”

And after having stressed the importance of good relationships between parents and educators, my second and equally earnest piece of advice is that parents realize that schools cannot teach our children everything, and that it is the parents’ responsibility from the very beginning to teach and encourage independent living skills and thinking. While I always counsel urgently against making assumptions without factual backup, teaching independence is the exception to that rule. Parents must assume their child will want to be a self-sufficient adult. Preparation for that goal is a lifelong task.>>

Read entire first interview with Ellen Notbohm here.

 Two of  Ellen Notbohm’s Books We Reviewed1001 Great Ideas for Teaching & Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s: Expanded 2nd Edition byEllen Notbohm and Veronica Zysk

 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching & Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s: Expanded 2nd Edition by Ellen Notbohm and Veronica Zysk should be required reading for all those who love, work, live, and care for children, especially those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This guidebook for parents and teachers covers the problems and gives solutions that must be taken from childhood to adulthood so that a child on the autism spectrum can reach his full potential.

Awards already won for 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching & Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s: 2nd Edition are the Silver Award winner in the 2010 Independent Publishers Book Awards, Learning Magazine’s 2006 Teacher’s Choice Award, and An Amazon Top Ten autism book since 2006. Read my full book review here.

Buy 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching & Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s  from Future Horizons and get 15% off PLUS free delivery in continental USA!   Add the coupon code KIDCOMPANIONS when you checkout of the store for discounts!

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen NotbohmTen Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm

People in all walks of life are saying only great things about Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew. A few adjectives used are positive, inspirational, insightful, intelligent, and emphatic.   Ellen Notbohm, a mother of sons with autism and ADHD, writes from experience and from the heart. Her positive messages cross over to families of children with many special needs.

The author tells us the goal of parents should be to equip our children with the skills necessary to progress toward productive, happy, independent adulthood. Being a self-sufficient adult who will be OK when his parents have passed away is a long process with many players involved. Like the author says, “…the quality of his tomorrows depends on each today that comes before it…”

Ms. Notbohm’s book is like the coach in your game of life.  She has the basic rules of survival and the plays needed to reach your goals. This tenacious mom’s guidebook touches all the bases from early childhood to early adulthood. She admits their parenting journey was difficult at times. This honestly will endear her to parents who will feel she knows what they are going through…. read complete book review here.

Second interview with Ellen Notbohm

Buy Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: From Future Horizons and get 15% off PLUS free delivery in continental USA!   Add the coupon code KIDCOMPANIONS when you checkout of the store for discounts!

Available from  Amazon.ca  Amazon.com 

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