Charting the Course for Treating Children with Autism: A Beginner's Guide for Therapists

Charting the Course for Treating Children with Autism: A Beginner's Guide for Therapists


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A practical, hands-on guide for working with children diagnosed with high functioning autism spectrum disorders.

Therapists play a crucial role in helping children and their families as they navigate the often stormy course of living with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). As cases of autism are increasingly diagnosed, the number of therapists with specialized training cannot keep pace. What is the clinician without prior experience with this disability to do when considering working with a child on the autism spectrum?

This “start here” book—a practical beginner’s guide to ASD for therapists—provides the answer. Without getting bogged down in the complexity of the disorder or attempting to turn practitioners into autism specialists, it points therapists—novices and seasoned alike—in the right direction so they’re better equipped to provide support.

Because autism can manifest in so many different ways, no cookie-cutter treatment exists and therapists need to be conversant with the basics, from assessment and treatment approaches to common therapeutic issues that can arise. This book serves as an invaluable road map.

Viewing ASD as a social communicative disorder, the authors provide a sound background of its manifestations and therapeutic interventions, helping therapists to define treatment issues and prepare for potentially difficult client encounters. Filled with practical insights and guidance, the book explains how to ask the right questions of parents and how to assess their answers. It presents a philosophy to guide parents and others in changing their perceptions of the child’s disability so as to pave the way for effective approaches to be used within the child’s environment. Concrete tools are provided to help determine “goodness of fit” between the therapist and client, in addition to several helpful reproducible intake and assessment forms available for download on an accompanying CD.

Charting the Course is an important therapist’s guide representing an all-encompassing approach to working not only with children and their parents, but also with their siblings, family members, and those in the community who are involved in their lives. Ultimately, this book provides a reassuring anchor for any clinician new to treating this disability as well as for those who are seeking alternative approaches to their ongoing work with children diagnosed with ASD.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393708714
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/24/2014
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 654,474
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Linda Kelly , PhD, is a school psychologist with the Brookline Public School district and a lecturer in ASD-related topics. She lives in Braintree, Massachusetts. Please visit to contact Dr. Kelly.

Janice Plunkett D’Avignon, PhD, a clinical psychologist, lectures at Boston College and is in private practice specializing in ASD. She lives in Hingham, Massachusetts. Please visit to contact Dr. D'Avignon.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Chapter 1 Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders 1

Chapter 2 Typical Versus Autism Spectrum Disorder Development: How Do You Know? 18

Chapter 3 Interviewing the Parents/Guardians 41

Chapter 4 Interviewing the Child 72

Chapter 5 Developing the Treatment Plan 95

Chapter 6 How and Why to Set Boundaries with Parents/Guardians 120

Chapter 7 How and Why to Set Boundaries with the Autistic Child 136

Chapter 8 Working with Siblings 154

Chapter 9 Dealing with Now While Preparing for the Future 167

Appendices 183

A The Initial Contact Form 183

B The Developmental Guide 188

C The Family Profile 195

D The Child Interview Form 210

E Autism Spectrum Descriptive Profile (ASDP) Form, Part I (blank) 217

F Autism Spectrum Descriptive Profile (ASDP) Form, Part II (blank) 228

G Autism Spectrum Descriptive Profile (ASDP) Form, Part I (sample) 231

H Autism Spectrum Descriptive Profile (ASDP) Form, Part II (sample) 242

I Collaborative Agreement Between Therapist and Parents/Guardians 248

J Collaborative Agreement Between Therapist and Child 252

K Thinking About Siblings: A Checklist 255

L Skills and Behaviors: A Checklist for Therapists 258

References 262

Index 270

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