Harper Wave Books: Unexpected Perspectives on Mind, Body, and Soul

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Hidden Brilliance

Unlocking the Intelligence of Autism

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About the Book

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 The authors examine the forces at play—including outdated attitudes, a lack of sufficient training, and an overreliance on standardized testing—that complicate and confuse the effort to see the remarkable capabilities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.

About the Authors

Claire LaZebnik

Photo of Claire LaZebnik

Claire LaZebnik lives in Los Angeles with her TV-writer husband and four children. She has co-authored two books about autism with Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel (Overcoming Autism and Growing Up on the Spectrum). Her previous novels include Knitting Under the Influence, The Smart One and the Pretty One, Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts, Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and The Last Best Kiss.