A groundbreaking exploration of the ways in which the intelligence and abilities of children and young adults with autism are often overlooked and misjudged, with tried-and-true interventions that can be used to help them reach their full potential.
Our limited and often biased view of what’s considered “normal” often prevents us from recognizing the gifts and brilliance of those who don’t fit a specific mold. Too often we don’t explore and take advantage of the far-reaching gifts and potential of those diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum or neurodiverse. Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel has had vast experience researching Autism Spectrum Disorders—ASD—and working with autistic people of all ages. She has repeatedly witnessed firsthand evidence of great intelligence that hasn’t yet been nurtured or realized.In Hidden Brilliance, Dr. Koegel and writer Claire LaZebnik explore the ways in which the brilliance and talents of children and young adults diagnosed with ASD are commonly overlooked or misjudged, even by trained professionals. This book isn’t about changing people, but about bringing out their best, by focusing on and nurturing their strengths. The authors examine the forces at play—including outdated attitudes, a lack of sufficient training, and an overreliance on standardized testing--that complicate and confuse the effort to see the remarkable capabilities of these kids. The authors argue that behaviors often described as disruptive or interfering are actually brilliant attempts at communication and point the reader toward interventions that can encourage people to effectively communicate their needs and thoughts. Hidden Brilliance helps us see how and why parents—who often feel alone in their ability to see past their children’s struggles to the incredible capabilities underneath —are often dismissed or ignored.
This long overdue book explains ways to identify your child’s strengths and abilities and then use them as a tool for social communication, improved learning, and overall growth. While no one can predict a child’s future, a positive and supportive attitude combined with the right goals and interventions that consider the child’s strengths can lead to extraordinary growth and connection. Warm and hopeful, Hidden Brilliance opens the door to a new way of looking at people diagnosed with ASD—those who deserve to have their brilliance shine brightly for all to see.
Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel is a clinical professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the cofounder of the Koegel Autism Clinic at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of eight books—including Overcoming Autism and Growing Up on the Spectrum with Claire LaZebnik—and has appeared on ABC’s hit show Supernanny, working with a child with autism.
Claire LaZebnik is the author of ten published novels and, with Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel, two works of nonfiction about autism (Overcoming Autism and Growing Up on the Spectrum). She wrote a Modern Love column for the New York Times about having an adolescent son with autism entering the dating scene. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines and periodicals, including Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, and Redbook.
“Hidden Brilliance will help both parents and teachers find and develop a child's unique skills in memory, music, math, art, and attention to details. Development of these skills can lead to both a more rewarding life and possible careers.” — Temple Grandin, PhD, Professor, Colorado State University, Author of Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstraction
"All too often people with ASD—and their families—are viewed through the lens of “deficits” and “red flags.” Without minimizing the challenges encountered in diverse developmental paths, these authors focus on the inherent strengths and unique positive learning styles seen in autistic children. Because of this, the book is an essential read for families, professionals and people with ASD." — Stephen Camarata, PhD , Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences and a Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
“This book does an outstanding job of helping parents recognize the strengths of their children. Since the co-authors are a parent and a skilled therapist, this is a very practical book on how to recognize strengths and help a child with ASD develop social-communication skills and interest in a positive manner.” — Edwin H Cook Jr MD, UIC Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago
“This autism-friendly book is a must-have for all parents of autistic children looking for effective ways to find and nurture their child’s unique strengths. The book’s many tips and first-hand accounts provide a positive and refreshing re-frame to fostering meaningful and happy lives.” — Angela Scarpa, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Director of the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research
“Recognizing the remarkable diversity in strengths and weaknesses that underlies human individuality, the authors provide a practical and inspirational guide for parents and caregivers raising children on the spectrum. I could not agree more with the premise. Rather than one-size-fits-all, Koegel and LaZebnik emphasize fostering a child’s interests and strengths. A must read for both families and professionals.” — Daniel Geschwind M.D. Ph.D, Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Professor, Neurology Psychiatry and Human Genetics at UCLA, Senior Associate Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor, Precision Health, Director, Institute of Precision Health
“One of the most intriguing aspects of work with children on the autism spectrum has been the awareness of areas of hidden strengths. This marvelous volume explores areas of hidden strengths and gives new insight into how our views of ‘normal’ can bias our appreciation of these strengths. The authors explore how a new approach may reveal ways to use these hidden strengths to enhance the lives of persons on the autism spectrum. Well written and understandable, this volume will become a must-read in the field.” — Fred R Volkmar MD, Irving B. Harris Professor Of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology Yale University
“Over the years, I have been humbled by the parents of individuals with autism with their wisdom and patience to optimize the functioning of their children. This book provides excellent guidance to parents in their journey of supporting their children and making sure they reach their full potential.” — Antonio Hardan, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
“Reading the book, I was reminded of something Charlie Stern, with whom I co-host the podcast “Stim4Stim,” once said: “You’re not broken, but you have to practice.” It’s a sentiment the book offers too: Not only is your child not broken, neither are your bond with them or your means of communication. And both of you have to practice.” — Washington Post