- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
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."
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
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.
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