A leading authority on autism offers practical, reliable advice on coping with learning disorders associated with autism.
Bryna Siegel gives parents of autistic children what they need most: hope. Her previous book, The World of the Autistic Child, became an instant standard, 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. 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 the various 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 each child. 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.
Bryna Siegel is Director of the Autism Clinic at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, University of California, San Francisco, and is the author of The World of the Autistic Child.
"This is a very positive book--sensitive to the dilemmas that children with autism face and positive about their ability to learn and adapt. It focuses on solutions to the challenges that autism presents, solutions that lead to new learning and adapting. Siegel's conversational style of language makes the book highly accessible for parents, teachers, and the various interventionists who serve children with autism. Her description of the matr of abilities and disabilities--how the core neuropsychological features of autism come together to create patterns of strengths and weaknesses--demystifies some of the puzzle of autism. She draws the outline of the separate pieces and shows how they fit together to form both the familiar pattern of autism that clinicians recognize but also the individual profile that defines each individual person with autism."--Sally Rogers, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California Davis Medical Center
"Bryna Siegel has made a thoughtful and learned analysis of the unique and perplexing learning strengths and weaknesses exemplified by the autism spectrum. Her book makes a valuable contribution to parents and professionals searching for clarification."--Eric Schopler, Founder and Co-Director, Division TEACCH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
512 pages. 2007