Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Child Has Autism

My Child Has Autism: What Parents Need to Know by Clarissa Willis, Ph.D. is an excellent introductory tool for parents with a child newly diagnosed with autism. It explains all of the involved jargon in a clear fashion, allowing parents to better understand everything.

Willis begins by explaining what autism is and what it is not, including a look at what is known as the autism spectrum. She also provides an overview of the diagnostic process and applicable treatments and techniques.

A whole chapter is devoted to trying to answer common questions asked by parents of children with autism. Common behaviors of rituals, obsession with objects, and autistic tantrums are bewildering to parents. Willis also provides several activities designed to meet these challenges head-on.

Lack of communication skills are at the core of autistic difficulties. Parents and children struggle to understand each other. Willis takes a lot of time to explain the difficulties as well as strategies to implement to facilitate communication. These activities can amplify techniques used by therapists and teachers.

Another chapter is devoted to Sensory Integration Disorder, which often occurs in children with autism. Willis again provides an overview with some common strategies used with children with autism. She also provides resources for further information, as entire volumes have been written dedicated to SID.

The last three chapters of the book are about helping the autistic child to become as independent as possible, as well as learning how to socially interact. Social interactions are very difficult, especially with the lack of communication skills.

As an educator, I found this book to be quite useful. It is filled with beneficial information that can help a regular educator in her classroom. It is one of the clearest books I have yet read on the subject. Key terms are defined at the end of every chapter. The numerous references and resources, also found at the end of each chapter, allow for further study on a particular area. It can also provide a springboard for conversation between educators and parents.

Students can also benefit from use of this book as an initial textbook in their studies of autism.

Parents will benefit from the introduction to autism, and can also use the resource lists to gain more information. It can give them a list of questions to ask doctors and therapists. A mother of an autistic child who skimmed the book said that while she wished more information was given in the treatment section, she felt everything else was explained quite clearly. She wishes she could have had such a book when her son was first diagnosed.

Purchase My Child Has Autism: What Parents Need to Know.

Andrea Coventry is a reviewer for

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