ALPHABETICAL BRAIN™ VOCABULARY
June 28, 2020
Raising an Exceptional Child
in a Conventional World
by Deborah Reber.
Workman Publishing, 2018
(i-ix, 278 pages)
QUOTE = “It is time to say no to trying to fit square-peg kids into round holes; and time to say yes to the gifts of their uniqueness.” by author of book, Deborah Reber (page viii)
INTRODUCTION --- A differently wired world (v-ix)
note = "I thought of Asher, at the tender ages of six, seven, eight, my little guy with the too-long hair falling over his big brown eyes — his rail-thin body laboring under the weight of an oversize shark-themed backpack overflowing with library books — going back and forth to school every day ready to learn, grow, play with his friends, and be a kid. And apparently, regularly apologizing for who he is. I had to wonder: How many times in his short life has Asher gotten the message that he’s wrong or broken or rude or bad?" (page viii)
note = "I don’t know about you, but I am not okay with any part of this story, and it’s indicative of a massive tragedy playing out in schools and communities and homes everywhere. We live in a world where children who are in some way neurologically atypical, or what I describe as 'differently wired'—a term I use to refer to the millions of people with neuro-differences such as ADHD, giftedness, autism, learning disorders, and anxiety, as well as those with no formal diagnosis but who are clearly moving through the world in a unique way — and being told day in and day out that there is something wrong with who they inherently are." (page viii)
note = "As you likely know all too well, parenting an atypical kid in a conventional world is an often lonely and difficult journey, with our families paying the price for the intolerance, misinformation, and lack of support that exists in today’s society. Fueled by a desire to shift the way difference is perceived and experienced by exceptional kids like Asher and the parents raising them, I founded 'TiLT Parenting' in 2016 to change the conversation surrounding neuro-diversity --- and to help parents find more peace, confidence, and joy along the way." (page viii)
note = "Initially launched as a weekly podcast featuring interviews and conversations to inspire and inform parents like us, 'TiLT' has developed into a thriving global community of people committed to embracing and supporting who our kids are, no matter what. My highest goal is to ensure that parents walking this unmarked path never feel alone again — and have what they need so their extraordinary children can thrive." (page vii-viii)
note = "This book will not give you a step-by-step formula for magically ending your daughter’s months-long regressions or fixing your son’s organizational challenges. I am not going to share the secret to eliminating your child’s anxiety or explain how to create a positive behavioral support chart so you can finally end screen — time battles. And this is not a book specifically geared toward any one diagnosis. Plenty of good books are already available for every developmental difference — many of them sit well-worn on my bookshelf; they will give you tactical strategies for specific challenges. Many of you may not even have a formal diagnosis for your child."
note = "The truth is, dividing us into diagnostic buckets, although helpful when searching for specific tools to address specific challenges, also has the side effect of keeping us separate and secluded. The way I see it, difference is difference is difference. Though the symptoms and behaviors of our kids may vary, so many of our challenges as their parents are actually the same. And we are much more powerful together." (page vii-viii)
note = "We need one another because I am looking to tackle something big. And, I hope, something revolutionary. Because the ubergoal of this book is to redefine how neuro-diversity is perceived in the world, and shift the parenting paradigm to one that acknowledges and includes our experiences. At its heart, this is a book about saying no --- no to trying to fit these square-peg kids into round holes; no to educational and social systems that do not respect and support how they move through the world; no to frustration and isolation — and saying yes to the gifts of these unique children and everything that goes along with who they are." (page viii-ix)
note = "The book lays out a vision for starting with us parents — and shifting our thinking and actions in a way that will not only change our family dynamic, but allow our children to fully realize their best selves." (page viii-ix)
note = "The best part? By making these shifts in our own world, we are rejecting what is broken in the status quo and demanding a new, inclusive, supportive paradigm. And that, my friends, means we are actually moving the world closer to a place where difference is genuinely seen and valued." (page viii-ix)
note = "It is time for things to change for today’s atypical generation and the parents raising them. I'm thrilled you’re reading this book, and I hope you connect with its vision for launching a shift that will have far-reaching implications. Because when these kids have the chance to let their gifts flourish, there is no limit to what is possible. I hope you will join me." (page viii-ix)
by Deborah Reber [All the above paragraphs by the author of the book.]
PART 1 --- A RALLYING CRY (1-81)
1) AN UNMARKED PATH (3-18)
2) THE NEW NORMAL (19-41)
3) SQUARE PEGS IN ROUND HOLES (42-57)
4) WHAT'S KEEPING US STUCK (58-79)
5) IT'S TIME FOR SOMETHING NEW (80-81)
PART 2 --- HOW EVERYTHING CAN CHANGE (83-264)
TILT 1 --- QUESTION EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT PARENTING (85-93)
TILT 2 --- GET OUT OF ISOLATION AND CONNECT (94-103)
TILT 3 --- LET GO OF WHAT OTHERS THINK (104-113)
TILT 4 --- FIGHTING WHO YOUR CHILD IS AND LEAN IN (114-123)
TILT 5 --- PARENT FROM A PLACE OF POSSIBILITY INSTEAD OF FEAR (124-133)
TILT 6 --- LET YOUR CHILD BE ON THEIR OWN TIME LINE (134-144)
TILT 7 --- BECOME FLUENT IN YOUR CHILD'S LANGUAGE (145-155)
TILT 8 --- CREATE A WORLD WHERE YOUR CHILD CAN BE SECURE (156-164)
TILT 9 --- GIVE (LOUD AND UNAPOLOGETIC) VOICE TO YOUR REALITY (165-173)
TILT 10 --- PRACTICE RELENTLESS SELF-CARE (174-183)
TILT 11 --- LET GO OF YOUR IMPOSSIBLE EXPECTATIONS FOR WHO YOU "SHOULD" BE AS A PARENT (184-193)
TILT 12 --- MAKE A RUCKUS WHEN YOU NEED TO (194-202)
TILT 13 --- ALIGN WITH YOUR PARTNER (203-213)
TILT 14 --- FIND YOUR PEOPLE --- And ditch the rest (214-235)
TILT 15 --- RECOGNIZE HOW YOUR ENERGY AFFECTS YOUR CHILD (225-244)
TILT 16 --- SHOW UP AND LIVE IN THE PRESENT (236-255)
TILT 17 --- HELP YOUR KIDS EMBRACE SELF-DISCOVERY (245-263)
TILT 18 --- IF IT DOESN'T EXIST, CREATE IT (256-264)
EPILOGUE --- Join the revolution (265)
SELECTED SOURCES (268)
FAVORITE RESOURCES (269-271)
BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (272)
As Debbie writes in her book: "We can all play a role in changing the way neuro-difference is experienced in the world. Here are some questions to get people thinking — and talking about how we can best move forward together."
1. Debbie suggests society embrace a new paradigm where neuro-difference is supported in every aspect of life. Are you in alignment with this vision? Why or why not? What do you think it will take for this shift to occur?
2. Debbie identifies four factors keeping the current paradigm in place: parents of neuro-typical children, the current educational model, the "broken system," and parents raising atypical kids. Do you agree with her? Which one do you believe is the most powerful contributor? How can it best be addressed?
3. Debbie suggests that "difference is difference" and encourages people to embrace neuro-diversity as a broad spectrum rather than fitting people into individual diagnostic buckets. Do you agree? Why or why not?
4. Debbie prefers the term "differently wired" over terms like "disorder." What are your thoughts? Do you think it helps or hurts the movement?
5. In reading Differently Wired, did you recognize any negative beliefs or prejudices you hold regarding neuro-diversity and/or specific diagnostic labels? If so, what are they? Have they changed since reading this book?
6. What do you believe is the key to eliminating the negative stigmas associated with diagnoses such as ADHD, autism, giftedness, and anxiety?
7. Debbie believes that transparency by families raising atypical kids is an important step in shifting the paradigm, recognizing that stigma is real and that disclosure is a personal decision. Where do you stand on this issue?
8. What do you see as the biggest roadblocks schools face in supporting atypical students? What changes would you like to see so all kids can be embraced?
9. Which of the eighteen Tilts resonated most with you? Which ones do you feel have the most potential to effect meaningful change, both within individual families and within society at large?
10. What role can you play in shifting the experience for neuro-diverse kids, and the families raising them? What are you willing to do differently moving forward?
AUTHOR NOTE, SUMMARY,
AND BOOK DESCRIPTION
AUTHOR NOTE = Deborah Reber is a bestselling author, certified life coach, and speaker who has spent the past fifteen years writing inspiring books for women and teens. However, raising a twice-exceptional son and experiencing the heartaches, headaches, confusion, and unexpected gifts that are typical for parents raising these exceptional kids sparked a transformation in her passion and led to a conscious shift from the realm of teen advocacy to the world of supporting the millions of parents who are raising unique kids. She launched Parenting — a website, podcast, and social media community — in April 2016, where she is building a community of supportive parents of neuro-diverse children.
SUMMARY = What shapes our personalities? How do we account for near-death experiences? How do we make decisions? Today millions of kids are stuck in a world that doesn't respect, support, or embrace who they really are — these are what Deborah Reber is calling the "differently wired" kids, the one in five children with ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger's, giftedness, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and other neuro-differences.
BOOK DESCRIPTION = The differently wired kids' challenges are many. But for the parents who love them, the challenges are just as hard — struggling to find the right school, the right therapist, the right parenting group while feeling isolated and harboring endless internal doubts about what's normal, what's not, and how to handle it all. But now there is hope. Written by Deborah Reber, a bestselling author and mother in the midst of an eye-opening journey with her son who is twice exceptional (he has ADHD, Asperger's, and is highly gifted), the book is a how-to, a manifesto, a book of wise advice, and the best kind of been-there, done-that companion. On the one hand it's a book of saying "NO", and how it's time to say no to trying to fit your round-peg kid into society's square holes, no to educational and social systems that do not respect your child, no to the anxiety and fear that keep parents stuck.
And then it is a book of "YES". By offering 18 paradigm shifts — what she calls "s" — Reber shows how to change everything. How to "Get Out of Isolation and Connect." "Stop Fighting Who Your Child Is and Lean In." "Let Go of What Others Think." "Create a World Where Your Child Can Feel Secure." "Find Your People (and Ditch the Rest)." "Help Your Kids Embrace Self-Discovery." And through these alternative ways of being, discover how to stay open, pay attention, and become an exceptional parent to your exceptional child.
LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW = When Reber's son was diagnosed as "2e" (twice exceptional), with the trifecta diagnosis of ADHD, Asperger's, and gifted, the author was introduced to the "lonely and difficult" journey of parenting an atypical child in a "conventional" world. A YA novelist (Language of Love) and nonfiction (Doable) writer, -Reber made a career shift and started TiLT Parenting, a website, podcast, and social media company for parents of differently wired children as a result of her experience with her own son.
Reber asserts that parents need to start by powerfully changing their thinking and action to transform the dynamics in the family and help their children to be the best version of themselves. Instead of hoping they outgrow their wiring and working on building on a child's weaknesses, Reber encourages embracing their strengths and adopts the term neurodiversity to discuss neurological differences. She suggests seeking out like-minded parents, letting go of time lines and expectations, and making self-care a priority. VERDICT A valuable resource for parents, teachers, and family members of exceptional children of all types.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW = Reber (What Smart Girls Know) brings the optimistic, child-centered approach of her Parenting website and podcast, which focus on raising neuro-atypical children, into the self-help book format, but doesn't have much advice that's particularly original. Reber posits that "today's increasingly large population of atypical children may actually be a modern-day evolution," before launching into complaints about schools with one-size-fits-all approaches ill-suited to students with conditions like dyslexia and autism.
Leaning heavily on her own experiences with Asher, her son diagnosed with ADHD, who struggled in school until her decision to homeschool him, Reber offers 18 "s" — practical shifts in behavior or attitude to improve family life. Many are similar to ideas offered to overwhelmed parents generally, such as avoiding becoming isolated from one's peers, not being concerned with the judgments of others, and practicing self-care, though some, like parenting "from a place of possibility instead of fear" and letting children exist "on their own timeline," are more targeted to atypical kids. Though Reber's upbeat voice may be inspiring for some parents, her advice on subjects like dealing with schools and building community tends toward the generic, preventing her manual from standing out amid the host of books covering the same topic.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW = When Reber's son was diagnosed as "2e" (twice exceptional), with the trifecta diagnosis of ADHD, Asperger's, and gifted, the author was introduced to the "lonely and difficult" journey of parenting an atypical child in a "conventional" world. A YA novelist (Language of Love) and nonfiction (Doable) writer, -Reber made a career shift and started TiLT Parenting, a website, podcast, and social media company for parents of differently wired children, as a result of her experience with her own son.
Reber asserts that parents need to start by powerfully changing their thinking and action to transform the dynamics in the family and help their children be the best version of themselves. Instead of hoping they outgrow their wiring and working on building on a child's weaknesses, Reber encourages embracing their strengths and adopts the term neurodiversity to discuss neurological differences. She suggests seeking out like-minded parents, letting go of time lines and expectations, and making self-care a priority. VERDICT A valuable resource for parents, teachers, and family members of exceptional children of all types.-Julia M. Reffner, North Chesterfield, VA.
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