Making Sense of Autism / Edition 1

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Overview

When you're working with children who have autism, you're sure to have questions about a wide range of issues: challenging behavior, interventions, medications, effective partnerships with parents, and the nature of the disorder itself.

Think of this book as your "autism primer"—the one you need to read first to get a solid, balanced understanding of what autism is, how it affects behavior and learning, and what you can do to effectively work with children with autism from their preschool years through elementary school.

Expertly clarifying research and science, highly respected autism researcher and clinician Travis Thompson helps you make sense of

  • brain development and differences in children with autism
  • types of early intervention and assessment
  • commonly prescribed medications and their effects
  • controversies surrounding autism treatments
  • positive behavior support
  • families' complex perspectives and challenges
  • disabilities associated with autism, such as fragile X syndrome, dyslexia, and ADHD
  • curricular and environmental adaptations

With the reliable, accessible research in this enlightening resource, you'll learn to see the world through the eyes of children with autism and skillfully address the issues they and their families face on a daily basis. An essential resource to share with parents once you've read it yourself.

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Editorial Reviews

Edward G. Carr

"Loaded with readable, practical, and eminently helpful advice. Captures the best that behavioral, educational, and biomedical approaches have to offer. A 'must own' book."
Director, Yale Child Study Center; Chief of Child Psychiatry, Yale-New Haven Hospital - Fred R. Volkmar
"A marvelous resource for parents and professionals alike . . . solid and sensible advice and information."
Professor of Special Education, University of Kansas - Richard L. Simpson
"An understandable and comprehensive means of better understanding the essential principles and isses that underpin autism spectrum disorders."
Support for Families of Children with Disabilities
"Truly a primer about Autism…a good book for parents of young children with Autism [and] an even better resource for teachers and other professionals."
American Psychological Association PsycCRITIQUES
"An enormously valuable source of information and good sense for families as well as for professionals."
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
A sympathetic, jargon-free introduction to autism and its effects on families…it should remain useful for many years.
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder than usually emerges during the toddler years. Given the lack of normal social reciprocity, as well as other limitations, this can be a distressing revelation for parents. This book provides an introduction to autism for nonexperts.
Purpose: As an introduction to autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the book provides information on the biological basis of ASDs, behavioral and school interventions, and pharmacological approaches.
Audience: Generally, it is targeted at clinicians who may have interactions with autistic children, but may not see them as a regular part of their practice. Students of psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics will likely find this of interest, and some parents may find it informative. The author is well versed in both the clinical and experimental aspects of ASDs.
Features: An introduction to autism through clinical vignettes begins the book. Diagnostic criteria are covered, as well as problems with current classification systems. A section on the functional neuroanatomy of autism is exceedingly brief (2 pages). One chapter contains a useful overview of intervention techniques as well as a summary table on the empirical support for each, but has a misleading title about "prevention." The subsequent chapters focus on specific interview techniques from early childhood through school transitions. Missing from the book is information about the transition to adolescence and adulthood. The neglect of this period of development is unfortunate but very common in books and in clinical practice. An interesting chapter covers mental health and psychopharmacology, but its specific application or relevance to autism is sparse. The final section provides important information and caveats for parents that address the illusion of "quick fixes" and "miracle cures."
Assessment: The idea behind this book is admirable: provide a practical understanding of autism for parents and other nonexperts. It accomplishes this goal in the main, but there are some areas that are either not specifically geared towards autism (psychopharmacology) or incomplete (e.g., not covering the entire developmental span to adulthood). Those problems aside, parents and nonexpert clinicians will surely find this an enlightening introduction to autism.
From The Critics
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder than usually emerges during the toddler years. Given the lack of normal social reciprocity, as well as other limitations, this can be a distressing revelation for parents. This book provides an introduction to autism for nonexperts.
Purpose: As an introduction to autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the book provides information on the biological basis of ASDs, behavioral and school interventions, and pharmacological approaches.
Audience: Generally, it is targeted at clinicians who may have interactions with autistic children, but may not see them as a regular part of their practice. Students of psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics will likely find this of interest, and some parents may find it informative. The author is well versed in both the clinical and experimental aspects of ASDs.
Features: An introduction to autism through clinical vignettes begins the book. Diagnostic criteria are covered, as well as problems with current classification systems. A section on the functional neuroanatomy of autism is exceedingly brief (2 pages). One chapter contains a useful overview of intervention techniques as well as a summary table on the empirical support for each, but has a misleading title about "prevention." The subsequent chapters focus on specific interview techniques from early childhood through school transitions. Missing from the book is information about the transition to adolescence and adulthood. The neglect of this period of development is unfortunate but very common in books and in clinical practice. An interesting chapter covers mental health and psychopharmacology, but its specific application or relevance to autism is sparse. The final section provides important information and caveats for parents that address the illusion of "quick fixes" and "miracle cures."
Assessment: The idea behind this book is admirable: provide a practical understanding of autism for parents and other nonexperts. It accomplishes this goal in the main, but there are some areas that are either not specifically geared towards autism (psychopharmacology) or incomplete (e.g., not covering the entire developmental span to adulthood). Those problems aside, parents and nonexpert clinicians will surely find this an enlightening introduction to autism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557669155
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 266
  • Sales rank: 1,100,008
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Travis Thompson, Ph.D., L.P., Graduate Faculty Member, Special Education Program, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Consulting Psychologist, Minnesota Early Autism Project, 7242 Forestview Lane North, Maple Grove, Minnesota 55369

Dr. Thompson is affiliated with the Autism Certificate Program in the Special Education Program of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota, and he is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. He is a collaborator on a multisite project on challenging behavior in developmental disabilities including the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the University of Kansas, Parsons. He is a licensed psychologist.

Dr. Thompson completed his doctoral training in psychology at the University of Minnesota and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland. He spent a year at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and a year as a visiting scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Thompson was Director of the John F. Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development at Vanderbilt University and Director of the Institute for Child Development at the University of Kansas Medical Center—a clinical, training, and research institute. Dr. Thompson has served on several National Institutes of Health research review committees, including chairing reviews of the applicants for Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism awards in 2000, 2003, and 2007. He has been a member of American Psychological Association (APA) task forces concerned with the practice of psychology and psychopharmacology. He is a past president of the Behavioral Pharmacology Society, the Division of Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse, and the Division of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities of the APA.

Dr. Thompson has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Research Award, The Arc of the United States; the Academy on Mental Retardation Lifetime Research Award; the APA's Don Hake Award; the Edgar A. Doll Award, for contributions to facilitate the transfer of research into practice; and the Ernest R. Hilgard Award and the Impact of Science on Application Award of the Society for Advancement of Behavior Analysis. He has served as cochair of the Association for Behavior Analysis International's Annual Autism Conference (2010 and 2011). He has published more than 230 journal articles and chapters and 30 books dealing with autism, developmental disabilities, psychopharmacology, and related topics. His most recent books, Making Sense of Autism (2007) and Dr. Thompson's Straight Talk on Autism (2008), are also published by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Dr. Thompson has spoken in 46 states and 15 countries about his research and clinical services and on topics related to autism and other developmental disabilities and psychopharmacology.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from Chapter 1 of Making Sense of Autism, by Travis Thompson, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2007 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

OUGHTISM: UNDERSTANDING CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

The most important thing that parents, teachers, and other caregivers can do to help a child with autism develop is to try to see the world through the child's eyes. For children with ASDs, very little in the world around them is the way it ought to be. Taking time to gain an appreciation for the way your child, client, or student sees the world is invaluable in understanding their often puzzling behavior and more rationally developing educational, medical, and other intervention plans. Some days it may seem that children with ASDs wake up in the morning wondering what they can do to drive their parents and teachers crazy. In reality, children with ASDs are doing their best to make their world understandable, predictable, and tolerable—the way it ought to be (at least from their perspective). Our job is to figure out how to make their world more manageable by understanding why they are doing what they're doing and teaching them more effective ways of overcoming the problems they encounter. The world is very confusing and at times scary for children and youth with ASDs. They don't understand what people say to them and the meaning behind people's actions. They don't understand what will occur, in which order it will occur, or when it will occur. The most fundamental problem each person with autism faces is how to gain control over a disorderly world. They need their environment to be predicable. When a child with an ASD screams, cries, has tantrums, or slaps his or her own face, it is often intended to make his or her parents stop making demands. Children with autism don't understand what is being said to them and they fear that it involves some change they are unable to tolerate. If a daily routine is changed, their aggression is intended to make their parents restore it the way it ought to be—from their perspective.

Many parents and teachers feel that they are losing control of the situation if they are unable to insist that the child with an ASD obey them—usually immediately. Ordering the child to do things, or not do things, and expecting prompt compliance will inevitably result in frustration for everyone involved and, very likely, a fracas. Each successive altercation over "who's in control here" will make matters worse.

One of the more effective ways to gain control over the behavior of a child with an ASD is often to relinquish some control over things that matter greatly to the child and are relatively unimportant to you. By teaching a child legitimate ways of controlling his or her world, even if some of the things that seem important to them don't make much sense to you, the child will feel more secure. He or she will no longer need to throw a tantrum, hit or bite, or otherwise harm him– or herself to make the world change. By providing the child with ways of gaining some control over the timing of when things are done and some details of how they are done, and giving them appropriate ways to communicate their need to leave disturbing situations, parents, teachers, therapists, and other caregivers, you will gain the child's trust and in the long run have a more loving and effective relationship with the child.

Searching for Help

When I first met Ross and Beth nearly 40 years ago, very little was known about autism. They wondered what was wrong with Matt. Beth spent hours poring over her pregnancy with Matt, almost day by day, to see if she had taken medicine she shouldn't have or was exposed to an unknown toxin that might have caused Matt's condition. Matt's pediatrician referred

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Table of Contents


About the Author
Preface
  1. Oughtism or Autism
  2. Autism Spectrum Disorders
  3. Early Intervention: Preventing and Overcoming Acquired Brain Dysfunction in Autism
  4. Families: The Foundation of Child Development
  5. Principles of Early Behavioral Intervention
  6. School Transition
  7. Functional and Cognitive Behavioral Strategies
  8. Mental Health and Psychopharmacology in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  9. Disabilities Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  10. Caveat Emptor: Cautionary Considerations for Parents and Practitioners
Appendix A: Resources
Appendix B: Glossary

Index

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