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Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Paperback – February 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Clinician Koegel (cofounder of the Autism Research Center at the University of California Santa Barbara) and novelist LaZebnik (Same As It Ever Was), mother of an autistic boy, team up "to show you how intelligent, well-planned early interventions... can improve the symptoms of autism enormously." That doesn't mean that they offer easy remedies to what's practically an epidemic (they estimate 1 in 150 births result in an autistic child). The technique of "applied behavior analysis" (a behavior modification program stressing close observation and positive reinforcement by parents and doctors), say the authors, can reduce the withdrawal and other characteristic behaviors of autism while improving a child's prognosis for intellectual and social development. They organize chapters by behaviors typical of autism, e.g., "Ending the Long Silence"; "Tears, Meltdowns, Aggression, and Self-Injury"; and "Self Stimulation." The coauthors take turns in each chapter, first discussing symptoms clinically and then anecdotally from a parent's perspective. Koegel believes disruptiveness and self-involvement are often attempts to communicate, and suggests ways to tailor replacements for such conduct. LaZebnik adds soothing, often wry first-person advice. As the mother of a boy who "was entirely nonverbal at age two and a half," LaZebnik's good news leavens Koegel's sometimes daunting program of behavior analysis, positive modeling and incentives. Encouraging but realistic, the authors' humane, proactive tactics toward improving autistic behavior will interest parents willing to take a labor-intensive, teaching approach to their child's disorder.
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"An outstanding book... comprehensive, calm, poignant, and surprisingly funny." Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
"Overcoming Autism provides solid information and a practical headstart toward understanding children's needs and managing their behavior effectively." —Bruce J. Masek, Ph.D., ABPP, Clinical Director, Child and Adolescent Pyschiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School
"An excellent, practical book for both parents and teachers." Temple Grandin, Ph.D., author of Thinking in Pictures
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There is such a wealth of info on autism here. If you can only afford to buy one book on autism. Let this be the one.
The authors take a highly optimistic view of treating autism. However, they make no bones about the fact that the treatment process is long, tedious and can even be painful. The first chapter deals with diagnosis and dealing with the initial shock.
From the second chapter onwards, the authors get down to earth with managing the autistic child. They go down to every detail on how to encourage communication. Start from the very simple and basic. Turn sounds into words. Reward, reinforce ...
Next, it's down to breaking the self-stimulating or injury cycle. Introduce replacement behaviour. The authors go into the dos and don'ts for breaking repetitive actions. Why punishment doesn't work for them. There is also a very practical FAQ section that deals with the common concerns and problems faced by parents and care providers.
The following chapters deal with imparting social skills, providing education and family support. There is so much useful info that it's impossible to finish, let alone digest in one reading. Buy this book and keep referring to it as you manage autistic children and see them grow up.