Helping Children with Autism Learn: Treatment Approaches for Parents and Professionals

Helping Children with Autism Learn: Treatment Approaches for Parents and Professionals

Helping Children with Autism Learn: Treatment Approaches for Parents and Professionals

Helping Children with Autism Learn: Treatment Approaches for Parents and Professionals


Bryna Siegel gives parents of autistic children what they need most: hope. Her first book, The World of the Autistic Child, became an instant classic, illuminating the inaccessible minds of afflicted children. Now she offers an equally insightful, thoroughly practical guide to treating the learning disabilities associated with this heartbreaking disorder.The trouble with treating autism, Siegel writes, is that it is a spectrum disorder - a combination of a number of symptoms and causes. To one extent or another, it robs the child of social bonds, language and intimacy, but the extent varies dramatically in each case. The key is to understand each case of autism as a discrete set of learning disabilities, each of which must be treated individually. Siegel explains how to take an inventory of a child's particular disabilities, breaks down thevarious kinds unique to autism, discusses our current knowledge about each, and reviews the existing strategies for treating them. There is no simple cure for this multifarious disorder, she writes, instead an individual program, with a unique array of specific treatments, must be constructed for eachchild. She gives practical guidance for fashioning such a program, empowering parents to take the lead in their child's treatment. At the same time, she cautions against the proliferating, but questionable treatments hawked to afflicted families. She knows the panic to do something, anything, to help an autistic child, and she offers parents reassurance and support as well as sensible advice, combining knowledge from experience, theory and research.For parents, autism in a child is heartbreaking, but it need not be overwhelming. Bryna Siegel offers a new understanding, and a practical, thoughtful approach, that will give parents new hope.


The syndrome we know as autism has been the subject of continuous interest on the part of researchers and clinicians from the time of first description by Leo Kanner sixty years ago. As a disorder which affects the most fundamental aspects of social development autism has posed important challenges—for theories of child development, brain development, and education. Essentially every possible approach has been used in trying to understand this disorder and related conditions. Over the past sixty years research findings have enriched not only the field of autism but the broader field of developmental psychopathology. Attempts to understand why children with autism have problems with relating to others, expressing and recognizing emotions, sharing an interest with other people, falling in love and empathizing with others, and in using and understand language to communication have enriched our theories of the whole set of abilities and motivations that allow a child to become a family member and social being.

This volume builds on the tremendous project that has been made over the past decade. This author synthesizes her research work with her extensive clinical experience with children with autism. Principles and findings from this experience are used to illustrate aspects of intervention. The effort to understand the nature of learning challenges in autism and to address them is critically needed. As this volume indicate these learning styles are the adaptations that children with autism use in an attempt to compensate for their difficulties—an awareness of these styles is essential as the starting point for intervention.

This book will be of great interest to teachers, parents, and clinicians in their efforts to facilitate the learning of the child with autism. It draws on the large, and increasing, body of work generated in recent years. It is important to emphasize that because of its many implications for children's development autism has served to shape the multi-disciplinary approach to developmental disabilities and this volume will facilitate the efforts of all those who work with autistic children and their families.

Over the past sixty years, particularly over the last decade, the impact of a child with autism on family life has undergone a sea-change as appropriate . . .

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