"Karen Sewell has done an excellent job of writing a very practical guide for professionals and parents. The techniques are adaptable to all ecological settings and numerous skills." -- G. S. Cross, Director, Special Education, Missouri
Dr. Ruth Sullivan was the first elected president of the Autism Society of America. She has spoken on numerous TV talk shows, served as a consultant to the film RAIN MAN, and now directs the Autism Services Center in Huntington, West Virginia. When Dustin Hoffman was preparing for the movie, he closely observed her son Joseph, who has autism, as a model for his character.
There are many books, articles, manuals, and workbooks for designing programs and working with students labeled autistic. The majority of these published pieces - at least the ones that appear in references in scholarly journals, books and publishers' lists - are written by consultants, trainers, lecturers, and university educators.
Many of these books provide good information about autism in educational settings, and provide helpful instructional strategies. However, not many books are written by teachers working down in the trenches.
Meet Karen Sewell, a public school teacher living in a rural town in southwest Louisiana. Her exceptional teaching of young students with autism for more than a decade has won the attention and respect of teachers, administrators, parents, and the Autism Society of Louisiana. In 1993, the Autism Society of America honored her with its "Teacher of the Year" award.
Encouraged to write about her instructional techniques and her ideas about an early childhood education curriculum for children with autism, Karen took a leave of absence from teaching to write this book. It's filled with useful details, practical suggestions, lists of materials, how-to's in managing disruptive behaviors, and other minutiae that will delight teachers looking for ideas, or corroborate what they have already been doing in their own classrooms.
It's not at all unusual for teachers without appropriate training to suddenly find themselves with a child with autism in their classroom. Nor is it uncommon that, subsequently, these same teachers remain unsupported in their classes, lacking knowledgeable supervisors to provide the necessary mentoring.
For these reason, I recommend this book for teacher education faculty, as well as for parents, public school teachers, and service and advocacy agencies. It is a much-needed and timely publication that should be welcomed into the autism literature. I get calls and letters almost daily from school teachers saying essentially, "Help! Send information." Karen Sewell's book is exactly the information they need. As a new preschool teacher who had no knowledge of autism or how to deal with it, I found the ideas in this book very helpful. It's full of practical solutions to any situation from behavior management to specific teaching methods. I have used the strategies and techniques with much success in my classroom. If you want a book that gets to the point with everyday help for teaching children with autism, this is the one." -- Dr. Ruth Sullivan