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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D. (Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book presents various treatments for autistic spectrum disorders which are supported by meta-analytic research. These interventions focus on specific domains including behavioral excesses, communication, sensory dysfunction, and social skills.
Purpose: The book is designed to provide "an insightful and balanced perspective on topics ranging from the historical underpinnings of autism treatment to the use of psychopharmacology and the implementation of evidence-based practice (EBPs). An evaluation methodology is also offered to reduce the risks and inconsistencies associated with the varying definitions of key autism terminology."
Audience: It is intended for school psychologists and special education professionals as well as allied mental health professionals, including clinical child and developmental psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, primary care and community providers. Graduate students in psychology and social work would benefit as well. Brian Reichow is associate research scientist at the Yale Child Study Center. Peter Doehring is director of regional programs at the Center for Autism Research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and The University of Pennsylvania. Domenic Cicchetti is a psychologist and statistician. Fred Volkmar, professor and director of the Yale Child Study Center, was a significant contributor to the DSM-IV section on autism and pervasive developmental disorders.
Features: The book begins with a history of treatment in autism, starting in 1943 with the work of Kanner. Early on, the authors differentiate evidence-based medicine, evidence-based practice, and evidence-based treatments. They then address treatment of specific domains including behavioral excesses, communication, social skills, and sensory dysfunction. The role of diet and alternative therapies are also explored. Finally, the book describes training for special education teachers and how to implement evidence-based practices in school systems. This book is easy to read and contains numerous tables, figures, and appendixes that help clarify the text. It is filled with research findings and hundreds of references to help readers follow up on specific topics. Part II on treatment reviews is especially helpful in providing an understanding of how to intervene in specific areas. It is not a step-by-step listing of methods, but it gives ideas of where to begin. Chapter 14 discusses how research is far ahead of what actually is being done in applied settings and the challenges for future research.
Assessment: This book presents the latest research findings in order to give readers a better understanding of autistic spectrum disorders and treatment options. It covers a wide variety of topics, addressing the major symptom categories. It is easy to read and filled with useful information on evidence-based practices, along with hundreds of references to follow up on specific details. This is essential reading for clinicians in the field.