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Self-Help Skills for People with Autism: A Systematic Teaching Approach

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Learning self-help skills-eating, dressing, toileting, and personal hygiene-can be challenging for people with autism, but is essential for independence. Self-Help Skills for People with Autism thoroughly describes a systematic approach that parents (and educators) can use to teach basic self-care to children, ages 24 months to early teens, and even older individuals. With an encouraging tone, the authors-behavior
analysts and psychologists-emphasize that it's worthwhile to devote the extra time and effort now to teach skills rather than have your child be forever dependent on others.

The many case studies throughout Self-Help Skills depict individuals with deficits in specific self-care tasks, and demonstrate how a coordinated and systematic approach is effective in teaching more complex skills. For example, a 12-old with the self-feeding skills of a toddler, who was excluded from the school cafeteria, is taught to stay at the table to eat a full meal using utensils. The book's beginning chapters explain the teaching process in detail:

Specify the target skill to be taught after prioritizing the self-care tasks that are most important and will likely have the greatest success rate

-Use task analysis to break complex skills into a series of small steps that will later be
linked together to form the more complex skill

-Apply a systematic approach to instruction that consistently employs proven methods for
teaching people with autism including verbal prompting, reinforcers/rewards, chaining,
graduated guidance, shaping, modeling, visual supports, etc.

-Monitor progress by collecting and analyzing data

-Modifyyour approach as needed to achieve the target goal

A chapter is devoted to each of the four skill areas (eating, dressing, toileting, personal hygiene) offering detailed insight and specific instruction strategies. Appendices contain forms to complete for task analyses, instructional plans, and data collection. With the information in Self-Help Skills, parents can immediately start teaching their child, or refer back to the book to fine-tune skills as their child develops.

2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medalist

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Editorial Reviews

Autism Asperger's Digest
Start now, no matter what you child's age, with this dazzler book as your guide: SELF-HELP SKILLS FOR PEOPLE WITH AUTISM. Cover to cover we loved its systematic, functional approach for teaching self-help skills to spectrum kids, toddlers to teens, nonverbal to verbal. Parents learn to assess their child's functioning levels, set objectives, break skills down into simple tasks, and use step-by-step teaching strategies to help their child become successful and independent. Lots of lists, charts, visuals and question sets take the guess-work out of teaching. (See table 3-3) Valuable information for parents and educators alike.
Children's Literature - Alison Wilber
This practical, research-based guide to teaching self-help skills to learners with autism provides specific, easy-to-follow steps and charts aimed at facilitating the development of independence in children functioning between twenty-four months and the teenaged years. First, basic support is given to teach pre-requisite skills that are needed for children to begin participating in self-help activities. Developmental milestones and priority charts are provided to help families determine which skills are most appropriate to target, and the authors recommend revisiting the book consistently across a child's development in order to address more advanced skills over time, as appropriate. The authors then teach readers to specify a goal, break it into small achievable steps, use a systematic approach to instructing skills, evaluate progress, and modify the program as necessary, assuring that all children can learn skills if the steps are broken down and modified appropriately. Seeking assistance from professionals is recommended if families are in need of help in modifying activities appropriately. Individualized and highly-relevant programming is stressed, as well as the importance of naturalistic teaching, cueing, and rewarding. Autism-specific considerations are addressed, including an in-depth discussion of how children with autism learn, how to work with a child's idiosyncratic needs and behaviors, and how to facilitate generalization of skills into other environments. Strategies for home-school communication are provided so that families can team with their children's educators to develop consistent and effective interventions. References are provided to other books and sources foradditional information on related topics that are outside the scope of the book. Information is also given about companies that offer products discussed in the text. Reviewer: Alison Wilber
Library Journal

Guides for parents of children with autism have tended to focus on educational and social goals, but as the authors of this book point out, practical self-care skills are just as important. Psychologist Anderson, psychologist Amy L. Jablonski, psychologist Marcus L. Thomeer, and behavior analyst Vicki Madaus Knapp-all affiliated with Summit Educational Resources in Tonawanda, NY-convincingly make the case that although teaching these children skills for independence is time-consuming and involved, the results in the long run benefit both parents and children. Yes, breaking into steps even the simplest task, such as hand washing, is daunting, but it makes for adults who fit into school and the greater community and experience success in their personal and work lives. Parents will appreciate the authors' patient, encouraging tone, not to mention their comprehensive coverage of eating, toileting, dressing, and personal hygiene. In addition to the illustrative case studies, there are appendixes with data sheets and instruction plans. This latest entry in the publisher's "Topics in Autism" series is recommended for public and academic libraries with autism collections.
—Elizabeth Safford

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890627416
  • Publisher: Woodbine House
  • Publication date: 7/8/2006
  • Series: Topics in Autism Series
  • Pages: 187
  • Sales rank: 594,689
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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