Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Reviews: Society's Hidden Curriculum

I am reviewing these books together because they complement each other greatly.

The Hidden Curriculum
Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations
Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D.
Melissa L. Trautman, M.S.Ed.
Ronda L. Schelvan, M.S. Ed.

This book outlines in very clear terms the nuances that the average person on the spectrum might find confusing in society.  The authors begin by outlining just what is the "hidden curriculum" and why it is important. They then provide some basic teaching techniques and self-help guidelines.

Example of a self-help chart is SOCCSS. Here the individual would deal with a situation through an indepth examination. The chart helps the person be able to break down what happened so that it could be understood in a way that they would know what to do if it ever happened again.


Additional strategies outlined are: SOLVE, Social Narratives (Social stories and cartooning), Power Cards, Social Autopsies, and Video Modeling. Remember not every strategy is necessary for every person. It is up to the individual to find what works for them and then learn to self-help.

The authors go on to create lists of common occurrences where there may be some misunderstandings and how the person can help themselves in these situations:

Airplane Trips
Bathroom Rules
Birthday PArties
Life Skills
Social Situations
At the Swimming Pool
Figurative SPeech and Idioms
Slang Terms

Learning the Hidden Curriculum: The Odyssey of One Autistic Adult 
Judy Endow, MSW

Ms. Endow gives the reader an insight into her world of misunderstandings. She opens up her life to let everyone know just how she dealt with hidden curriculum issues her entire life until she was able to apply the lessons from The Hidden Curriculum

She then goes on to explain to everyone how she took what she learned and how she applied it to her everyday existence. She shows the reader how she organized her world and learned how to understand and navigate the neurotypical society. But most of all Ms. Endow lets the reader know that she is not above asking for help when she realizes she needs it. She understands that learning the hidden curriculum is a life long endeavor. One she works very hard to accomplish.

She discusses situations and what happened to her. She lets everyone know what could have been done in these situations and how the hidden curriculum lessons could be applied. Furthermore and most helpful, is that she outlines and develops charts and tables to help the reader apply what she has learned:
Community outings
Everybody Knows...
I Know that Look!
Police?legal List
Who-You-Are-With Variables
Circumstances Variables
Literal Understanding Issues

These two books are very short but jam-packed with knowledge and information that will help anyone if they apply the lessons learned. They are useful across the board for parents of spectrum children, to autistic adults, to teachers of special needs children.

Until next time,


I have received nothing in exchange for this review, not even the books. I also link to merely because that is the site I use to buy books. If you click on that link I receive no compensation at all. Please buy the books from any bookseller you like.