“Getting From Me to We: How to Help Young Children Fit In and Make Friends”
By Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea, Woodbine House, 2015, 220 pp.
Reviewed by Rebecca Rizoli, Program Specialist, FCSN
“Getting From Me to We: How to Help Young Children Fit In and Make Friends” by Shonna Tuck, M.A., SLP, is a helpful book for parents whose children are having trouble making friends. The book acknowledges that many children with special needs, such as ADHD or autism, have trouble making friends.
At the same time, it also mentions that not all children who have trouble making friends have special needs, and discusses ways that parents can help their youngsters (with or without special needs) learn to make friends.
In the introduction to the book, Tuck says that there are seven skills that children need to master in order to make friends. She refers to them as “rungs,” as they happen in order as a child matures and develops. A child must master each of the previous rungs, in order, before progressing to the next, just like rungs on a ladder. The seven rungs are joint attention, emotional awareness, imitation, early perspective taking, later perspective taking, narratives, and conflict resolution/executive function.
Each of the first seven chapters of the book is about one of the seven rungs, in order. In these chapters, Tuck briefly describes what each rung is, how children reach the rung, possible reasons why children may not reach it, how a failure to reach the rung can impede a child’s ability to make friends, and tips on how to help your child reach the rung if he or she has failed to reach it.
The last several chapters offer helpful tips and suggestions for parents on how to help their child make friends. For instance, when you invite another child over for a playdate, observe the children playing together so that you can intervene if you see your child behaving in ways that are socially inappropriate and not conducive to making friends.
This book is a helpful resource for anyone whose child is having trouble making friends, whether they have special needs or not.