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Book Review – Sheila Mansell, PhD. R. Psych.
November 24, 2017
In the last decade there has been a growing recognition of neurodiverse adolescents and young adults and their needs for skills and career development. This shift is occurring in response to the significant, longstanding concerns with their underemployment as well as mental health concerns. In particular, this newer literature shifts away from the long standing deficit models to strengths based and self-knowledge and self-advocacy models.
Power Practices: Explore Careers and Create Your Own Pathway is a welcome and refreshing contribution to the field. Its foundation starts with the author’s Marquette’s Strengths Index. This assessment tool helps young people initiate the process of self discovery that is so central to personal recognition of strengths, self-knowledge, emotional self- awareness and self advocacy. Dr. Marquette draws on real life examples of young students and their stories. Their experiences feature prominently here and provide inspiring examples for young readers. The results from the personal assessment set the stage for additional self discovery through guided questions, understanding educational requirements for future paths, learning about resources to help, establishing hobbies and creating opportunites to learn more about interest level and focus. This approach is practical, concrete and very useful as it draws on examples from real students engaged in their career and personal exploration.
The Practicing Self-Awareness portion of the book is both the lengthiest and most potent part as it addresses some of the more complex issues that interfere with successful transitions into adulthood. It targets anxiety, emotional self-regulation, emotion recognition, managing change and stress, personal and work social skills, confidence and self esteem, self care and self-empowerment. As this book is targeted to neurodiverse adolescents the author shows an intimate and compassionate understanding of these struggles. Dr. Marquette’s book is an especially important contribution as she addresses the mental health concerns, rigidities, social struggles and anxieties that are not only present in neurodiversity but also the transition from adolescence and young adulthood.
Her integration of these areas is both seamless and well thought out and encourages young students to see themselves more positively and to embrace all that they are and to see that they have important contributions to make in the world. A must read for teachers, parents and carers and neurodiverse adolescents. I believe the Marquette Strengths Index and the Power Practices book should be introduced as part of school transition planning starting in early adolescence.
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