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Engaging Autism: Helping Children Relate, Communicate and Think with the DIR Floortime Approach (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) Hardcover – March 28, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Greenspan and Wieder (The Child with Special Needs) start out by redefining autism in realistic yet positive terms which open the door for successful intervention: instead of focusing solely on the autistic spectrum, a more flexible axis measuring progress, on which placement is not fixed, can give parents and children a "a healthy developmental trajectory," taking into account such goals as "showing intimacy and warmth ... communicating with gestures ... and talking meaningfully." The authors give readers a pragmatic approach to thinking about people on the autistic spectrum, including specific ideas for enhancing connectivity and communication in people of any age, most of whom "rarely advance intellectually above the ten-to-twelve-year-old level ... when they could progress far beyond the level of concrete thinking," if only there were a curriculum that would "challenge them to do so." Most of the text is used to help develop an engaging program for someone with autism, including resources and examples, in order to address "relationships, specific behaviors, the creative use of ideas, and the various processing areas." This is essential reading for caregivers, parents and friends of people on the spectrum, as well as compelling reading for anyone who wants to learn more about autism.
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Blogcritics.org, 3/26/09
“A must read for parents, caregivers, teachers, physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists who have been frustrated in their attempts to help young and older children with autism. Its methods will give all of them more than just a ray of hope.”

Mid-Ohio Valley Parent, June/July 2009
“For parents looking for new ways to work with their autistic children, this book would be extremely helpful.”

Toronto Globe & Mail, 5/21/11
“This large, useful book offers a good overview of ASD.”


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Product Details

  • Series: A Merloyd Lawrence Book
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (March 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738210285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738210285
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lynne Roberts on April 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a detailed look at a difficult subject but for the parent of a child with autism it is one of those stones that should not go unturned. Dr. Greenspan makes the extraordinary claim that he has treated thousands of children and adults with ASD and has never seen one that could not be moved forward on the spectrum, not even one. In many cases they have been be able to join their peers in full healthy emotional and intellectual lives.

Dr. Greenspan is no quack. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School. He and Dr. Serena Wieder have spent the last twenty five years developing the approach they call Floortime. Their thesis is that all learning begins with emotion. The tiniest infant typically bonds and begins to communicate with its mother because it finds that communication pleasurable and desirable. Each little step in the process represents a foundational building block required for the next step. Children with autism have missed some of those building blocks. The idea behind Floortime is to meet the child wherever she is emotionally. Find what the child likes to do. Join her in the activity. Follow her lead and establish an emotional bond that can be used to communicate in a way the child finds pleasurable. That in turn can allow her to put some of the missing foundation in place. Over time the child moves up on the spectrum.

I find Dr. Greenspan's success stories inspirational. My four year old grandson has made remarkable progress in the two years since he was diagnosed with autism. He plays with his peers, makes strong eye contact, and laughs with his dad. But for the past six months or so he seems to be stuck on a language plateau.
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Format: Hardcover
My daughter is 8. We did the early intervention from age 2,Kind. and 1st grade. School goals were to make her autism not so obvious by teaching her to be quiet in class and follow a schedule. I found a mom who did her own consulting. Her daughter started non verbal at age 2 like mine. However, she used Greenspan and her daughter is amazing and in a reg. Kindergarten with no shadows. Very articulate, executive functioning (planning etc) is excellent. When asked how she did this she replied I worked my "blank" off! You would be amazed at what floor time accomplishes. We got pretty normal eye contact in a month. When you imitate them they look at you. She has learned nouns, not nouns, verbs, pronouns... When I read Greenspan I found a wealth of ideas for all kind of situations and I needed stories to see how to do it. She doesn't need much chair time except some of homeschooling. I want a kid who argues with her brother, can whine like any kid. I want her to play and make friends. Remember, be a kid yourself,laugh,have fun during therapy. Your presence has to be the reason playing is more fun. Read Greenspan. I did like the second book better. My husband and I have seen such huge positive changes. You begin to take for granted what didn't exist before. Isn't that nice? Greenspan keeps it functional, real life teaching in the moment! P.S. The disciplinarian teaches nothing. Knock off the military mindset.
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Format: Paperback
This review of Engaging Autism: Using the Floortime Approach to Help Children Relate, Communicate, and Think) is written for any person interested in autism. Its main intent, however, is to speak directly to a parent or caregiver who may be dealing with a child with the disorder. In this review, I refer to a child with the disability as "her" and "daughter," even though there is a predominance of boys with this disability. Early in the book's chapters, authors Greenspan and Wieder warn that the presence of one symptom should never lead to a diagnosis of autism. Engaging Autism lists these three problem areas as indicative of the disorder.

1. The first problem you may notice is your child's inability to establish closeness and affection when relating to you and others. You may notice she does not turn meaningfully to greet you. Her general body motions appear uncoordinated and random for her age - purposeless. You get the unmistakable gut feeling that she shows little or no affection in spite of your best attempts to show her intimacy and warmth.

2. The second problem you might notice is her failure to communicate with gestures and expressions of emotion. Engaging Autism believes your child may feel pleasure and sense affection; still she is unable to express this feeling.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am "seasoned" in DIR/FT, having read numerous books by Dr. Greenspan and Dr. Wieder and attended ICDL and Floortime Foundation conferences. This book thoroughly explains the core deficits of autism spectrum disorder and the DIR/FT approach. If your child was recently diagnosed with ASD or if you have an older child/adolescent with difficulty with social interactions (pragmatic language) or sensory needs, this is an excellent book to read. There are also examples with respect to integrating FT into the school curriculum. It complements Dr. Greenspan's "The Child with Special Needs".
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