Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Transactional Developmental Perspective / Edition 1

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This cross-disciplinary reference offers a thorough overview of the communication, language, social, and behavioral issues characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Based on meticulous research of the core areas of ASD - communication, socialization, emotional regulation, and symbolic development - the authors offer practical guidelines for intervention designed for children with autism and their families.In this comprehensive book, speech-language pathologists, clinicians, early interventionists, psychologists, and educators learn how to understand and address the social and communication challenges experienced by children with autism enhance assessment and intervention methods support families in their efforts to facilitate their children's development Chapters in this volume, written by leading clinical and research authorities in ASD, will allow readers to understand the principles and philosophies behind clinical and educational practices implemented with children with autism. Readers will also encounter guidelines to use when making critical assessment and intervention decisions to create more natural, child-centered supports. All professionals will learn how to improve their educational and developmental supports for young children with autism.

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Editorial Reviews

After an introduction to the subject by editors Wetherby (communication disorders, Florida State U.) and Prizant (human development, Brown U.), 15 contributions from speech-language pathologists, clinicians, early interventionists, psychologists, and educators discuss the theory and research foundations for understanding the developmental context of autism, and assessment and intervention issues. Among the topics: intersubjectivity<-->the roles of imitation and executive function; sensory processing and motor performance; neurological underpinnings; promoting peer play and socialization; and a comprehensive approach to challenging behavior. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557664457
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Series: Communication and Language Intervention Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 422
  • Sales rank: 1,377,780
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Coyne Cutler, Ed.D., got her advocacy training the hard way. Divorced and with two small children to raise, she began to search out services for her son with autism. It took her almost 10 years to realize that being a patient, no-trouble-at-all parent was not the way to get attention or services. She learned painfully through her personal experience that a parent has to become vocal, visible, knowledgeable, and relentless in order to become an effective advocate. As a parent of a now middle-age son in continuing need of services, Dr. Cutler has been through the system in the dark days when her small son seemed to have no rights at all through the early days of the educational rights movement and later into the adult service system. From a once quiet and compliant parent she has become a leading advocate for people with disabilities and their families. Aware of deficiencies in systems serving people with disabilities, Dr. Cutler worked on her own professional development, acquiring bachelors and master's degrees from Harvard (where she was also a Merrill Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute) and a doctorate in special education from Boston University.

Dr. Cutler has directed educational, supported works and community resource programs, including the Autism National Committee (, which she serves on now; facilitated the development of a model respite care program; trained parents and professionals in positive behavior support programs; and provided individual consultation in various states to public schools dealing with the needs of students with autism and developmental disabilities.

In her more than 30 years of service, she has continued to advocate as a member of boards of service, state, and advocacy organizations including her local Commission on Disability and Regional Developmental Disabilities Council. She has presented throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. She has published chapters in various disability-related books and newsletters.

Looking back, she realizes that because of her son's disability, her career was chosen for her. "I've made my personal and career decisions by dealing with the crises that parents of children with disabilities learn to expect as part of their daily routine. It's a life that's sometimes harrowing, sometimes rewarding—but never, never dull. I have never regretted my decisions. Without strong parent advocates, our sons and daughters could be overlooked and poorly served."

Dr. Cutler lives next door to her son, George, and his wife, Sherrie, and across the street from her son, Robert. The family is often together on weekends and is always available to support each other.

Glen Dunlap, Ph.D., Research Professor, Division of Applied Research and Educational Support (DARES), Department of Child & Family Studies, Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33612-3899

Dr. Dunlap is a research professor at the University of South Florida, where he works on several research, training, and demonstration projects in the areas of positive behavior support, child protection, early intervention, developmental disabilities, and family support. He has been involved with individuals with disabilities for more than 35 years and has served as a teacher, administrator, researcher, and university faculty member. Dr. Dunlap has directed numerous research and training projects and has been awarded dozens of federal and state grants to pursue this work. He has authored more than 185 articles and book chapters, coedited four books, and served on 15 editorial boards. Dr. Dunlap was a founding editor of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions and is the current editor of Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. He moved to Reno, Nevada, in 2005, where he continues to work on research and training projects as a member of the faculty at the University of Sout

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from chapter 1 of Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Transactional Developmental Perspective, edited by Amy M. Wetherby, Ph.D., & Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2000 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders

The terms autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) currently are used synonymously to refer to a wide spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders that have three core features: impairments in social interaction, impairments in verbal and nonverbal communication, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Major advances have been made since the 1980s in understanding the social and communication difficulties of children with ASD or PDD. This progress has resulted in a greater emphasis on early sociocommunicative patterns in the diagnostic criteria for the generic category of PDDs, which includes the subcategory of autistic disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). More specifically, the following essential features for autistic disorder compose the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition:

  1. Impairment in social interaction, manifested by impairment in the use of nonverbal behavior, lack of spontaneous sharing, lack of socioemotional reciprocity, and/or failure to develop peer relationships
  2. Impairment in communication, manifested by delay in or lack of development of spoken language and gestures, impairment in the ability to initiate or maintain conversation, repetitive and idiosyncratic use of language, and/or lack of pretend play
  3. Restricted repertoire of activities and interests, manifested in preoccupation with restricted patterns of interest, inflexible adherence to routines, repetitive movements, and/or preoccupation with parts of objects

Because language and communication difficulties are essential features of this syndrome, educators and practitioners need to have current understanding of these characteristics and issues pertaining both to assessment and to intervention programs for children with ASD.

Autism is now understood to be of neurogenic origin and can have a dramatic impact on the family members of individuals with ASD. New treatment strategies are frequently introduced and discussed in the media and the professional literature; however, there is great variability regarding the extent to which treatments address the core characteristics of ASDs. In fact, much disagreement remains as to the nature of the core characteristics as opposed to secondary or frequently observed associated characteristics. Furthermore, most published intervention studies fail to employ meaningful outcome measures that document changes in barriers to learning that are characteristic of ASDs or meaningful lifestyle changes for the individual or family.

This volume provides a theoretical and research foundation for understanding the nature of the communication and language problems experienced by children with ASD and for guiding decision making in educational programming and, in particular, communication assessment and intervention. The first part (Chapters 2 through 8) examines the developmental context of children and their families and explores the underpinnings of ASDs and how these relate to communication and language problems. The second part (Chapters 9 through 15) examines issues pertaining to education and treatment for children with ASD. Because the topic of autism is so broad across the life span, this volume focuses on the first decade of life, spanning infancy, childhood, and elementary school age.


The theoretical and research framework underlying this book draws heavily from the transactional model of child development. That is, child

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Table of Contents

Series Preface
Editorial Advisory Board
  1. Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Amy M. Wetherby and Barry M. Prizant
  1. Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Young Children
    Catherine Lord and Susan Risi
  2. Joint Attention, Cultural Learning, and Language Acquisition: Implications for Children with Autism
    Malinda Carpenter and Michael Tomasello
  3. Joint Attention, Social Orienting, and Communication in Autism
    Peter Mundy and Jennifer Stella
  4. Intersubjectivity in Autism: The Roles of Imitation and Executive Function
    Sally J. Rogers and Loisa Bennetto
  5. Understanding the Nature of Communication and Language Impairments
    Amy M. Wetherby, Barry M. Prizant, and Adriana L. Schuler
  6. Sensory Processing and Motor Performance in Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Marie E. Anzalone and G. Gordon Williamson
  7. Neurological Underpinnings of Autism
    Natacha Akshoomoff
  1. Communication Intervention Issues for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Barry M. Prizant, Amy M. Wetherby, and Patrick J. Rydell
  2. More Able Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Sociocommunicative Challenges and Guidelines for Enhancing Abilities
    Diane Twachtman-Cullen
  3. Promoting Peer Play and Socialization: The Art of Scaffolding
    Adriana L. Schuler and Pamela J. Wolfberg
  4. A Developmental Approach to Difficulties in Relating and Communicating in Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Related Syndromes
    Stanley I. Greenspan and Serena Wieder
  5. Understanding and Intervening with Children's Challenging Behavior: A Comprehensive Approach
    Lise Fox, Glen Dunlap, and Pamelazita Buschbacher
  6. Augmentative Communication and Literacy
    Pat Mirenda and Karen A. Erickson
  7. The Experience of Autism in the Lives of Families
    Barbara Domingue, Barbara Cutler, and Janet McTarnaghan
Author Index
Subject Index
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