Guest Post from Dr. Karina Poirier
What makes children likeable to other children?
You may be surprised to learn that about 12% of children are rejected by their peers. That’s about one in every 12 children, which adds up to millions in the U.S. alone—far too many. Children who face social isolation don’t do as well in school, are more likely to get in trouble, and have greater difficulty building successful adult lives. So what can you do, as a parent or caregiver, to increase a child’s chances of social acceptance—especially if she suffers from autism, ADHD, or a similar disorder?
In Unlocking the Social Potential in Autism, Dr. Karina Poirier explores the causes and treatments for autism, which is still being defined and redefined more than 70 years after it was first described in the scientific literature. Though autism is an incurable lifetime disorder, it doesn’t have to be a social prison. With help, children with autism can bloom socially. They can learn the social skills that make people likeable.
Ideal friends are empathetic, cooperative, and easy to talk to. They’re fun to play with. Autistic children have problems with all these issues, so Dr. Poirier’s book addresses them in detail. Ultimately, the Poirier Developmental Curriculum (PDC) helps children master several domains of mental processes.
Cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes must all work together smoothly for a child to handle social relationships well. In a social situation, a child must gather and organize information about the people and events involved; interpret the information; regulate her behavior by controlling her impulses; and decide how to respond.
DR. KARINA POIRIER is the clinical director of the Center of Social Cognition, a prominent clinic for treating social and cognitive deficits in autism. She maintains a “Social Potential” blog to disseminate valuable information about social and cognitive skills training. She runs regular workshops in the Los Angeles area where she trains parents and teachers to help children with autism achieve their maximum potential. Dr. Poirier is the author of the ground-breaking book Unlocking Social Potential in Autism, and she has designed a comprehensive curriculum for parents and teachers to use when teaching children with autism.
Virtual Book Tour Dates: 5/12/14 – 6/9/14
Genres: Non-fiction, Education
Tour Price: The Kindle version will be discounted by 50% during the tour!
Parents are hit with an avalanche of emotions when they receive the news that their child has autism. It is understandable that many parents default to feelings of denial, guilt, and hopelessness; however, what is not easily recognized is the powerful opportunity parents have to unlock their child s social potential.
Karina Poirier, Psy.D., BCBA-D, offers her expertise in this book that parents will find incredibly useful. Dr. Poirier has provided in simple, easy to comprehend language, an overview of child development, a descriptive explanation of how autism affects each developmental area, and guidelines for advancing your child s functioning in all developmental domains.
The book contains a multitude of hands-on, full-color sample lessons for teaching social and emotional skills, language, problem-solving and decision making, and play skills to children with autism.
(From the Foreword written by a parent):
In our journey towards recovery, we came across many therapists, psychologists, doctors, and other professionals. We realize now that they were not all created equal.
There were some professionals—luckily only a few—whose involvement in our children’s lives was clearly just another mediocre job to them. However, we owe an immense amount of gratitude to many others for the loving and kind ways in which they contributed to our children’s progress. Dr. Poirier, whom the children affectionately call ’Dr. Karina,’ singularly stands out in a long line of people we have met along the way. She is the person to whom we are most grateful.
We met Dr. Poirier almost three years ago when my husband and I took our daughter Claire to her to help with Claire’s extreme social difficulties. Claire hardly had any friends at school; she was extremely shy around her peers. By that time, we had tried everything—even going so far as to drive almost 100 miles at a time for treatment. We enrolled Claire in multiple social classes and social groups, but all to no effect. We had to wait about a month for a spot to open up in Dr. Poirier’s schedule, but when she finally had an available time to schedule Claire for treatment, we took it immediately. Claire made incredible progress under Dr. Poirier’s treatment plan. Claire has since graduated from Dr. Poirier’s sessions and is currently thriving in the 6th grade. She has several close friends and she frequently gets invited to play dates; and she shares stories with my husband and me about how much fun she is having at school.
Adam started seeing Dr. Poirier as well. Adam’s issues are broader and more complex than Claire’s. With Dr. Poirier’s guidance and expertise, Adam too is growing, maturing, and bridging the gap that has for long distinguished him from typical kids his age.
Adam continues to work with Dr. Poirier, and he has made remarkable progress in the two years he has been seeing her. He is learning about socially acceptable behavior, perspective taking, how to maintain conversations, how to regulate his emotions, how to be a good friend, and how to make and keep friends. Adam is currently an A student in the 7th grade, and he has several good friends at school. It is almost as if a fog has been lifted from Adam.
What makes Dr. Poirier different is that she sees each child as a whole person. In the past, I often felt that the professionals who interacted with Adam saw him only in the scope of one developmental area. The speech therapist, for instance, saw Adam only in the context of his language development, while the occupational therapist saw Adam only in the context of his motor and sensory development without concerning herself too much about his lack of social skills or lack of language, and so forth. Dr. Poirier works with the child to advance all developmental areas, such as the child’s language, emotional growth, cognitive skills, and social skills as a whole. She has a true passion for helping children and their families struggling with autism and other disabilities.
I am honored that Dr. Poirier asked me to write the foreword to her book. While I feel completely unworthy, and though my words could never do justice to emphasize the value of her work, the fact that Dr. Poirier asked me, the parent of one of her patients, to write this foreword shows the nature of her character. Certainly there are countless professionals in the field who would have loved to write the foreword for this book, but it is the mother’s view, the family’s perspective, that means the most to Dr. Poirier.
I am so excited that Dr. Poirier’s book will be available to children and families who, due to distance, finance, or other circumstances, may never have the opportunity to work with her one- on-one. They will now be able to benefit from the same treatment and therapies she uses with the children who she works with every day in her clinical practice.
About the Author:
Dr. Karina Poirier is the Director of the Center for Social Cognition, a board certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level (BCBA-D), and a certified cognitive educational therapist. Her clinical practice is devoted to providing outstanding individual and group therapy that improves social and cognitive outcomes for individuals with autism, ADHD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and related disorders.
Author Karina Poirier is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Enter here!