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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
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.