Healing High Fives

At Healing, we’re always looking for new resources of information that would be useful to those who care for, treat and teach kids. This section gives “high fives” to sources that we feel would be beneficial to kids and those who care for them.

Empowered Autism Parenting: Celebrating (and Defending) Your Child’s Place in the World
by William Stillman

William Stillman is an accomplished author and independent advocate for individuals with autism. He is a person with Asperger’s Syndrome but makes it clear that Asperger’s does not define him, as autistic should not be used to define anyone who is on the Autism Spectrum. Stillman urges parents not to label their children and to definitely not try to “fix” them. Instead, Stillman believes the greatest gifts a parent can give a child are acceptance and advocacy.

One of his most important messages is that your child is the same child he or she was before the diagnosis and will always be the child you love and cherish. He also stresses that you should presume the intelligence of you child and not talk in front of him as if he did not understand what was being said. Indeed, many people on the spectrum are highly intelligent and gifted, which can cause a great deal of frustration when they cannot express themselves.

A very important point that Stillman makes is that parents should see their children’s behavior as communication. When a person with autism behaves in a certain way, he or she is trying to communicate using the only means he or she has. It is vital to offer different means of communication to your nonverbal child such as sign language, pictures, typing or looking at letter boards to spell out words. Stillman also recommends providing your child with age-appropriate media such as books, games, movies or tapes. Intelligence and verbal abilities are not at the same level, and challenging the nonverbal person with more stimulating media can only help him or her advance.

Stillman asks readers to refer to children with autism as having an autism spectrum “difference” instead of disorder. Treat people with autism respectfully and use language that is person first. This compelling book should prove invaluable to  parents, family members and all adults who interact with individuals on the autism spectrum. – PS
Published 2009 | Jossey-Bass | An Wiley imprint | 989 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

 

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Edited by Sam Goldstein, Jack Naglieri and Sally Ozonoff

This book is a complete reference on assessing autism spectrum disorders, making use of current research and international references. Starting with an exhaustive review of literature on epidemiology past and present, this book describes the progression of the identification and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and then leads into an in-depth discussion of assessment tools and their reliability. The editors note that there is no standardization in terms of scale with which autistic children are measured.

In a review of the history of categorizing children with autism, the book points to early documented cases that were diagnosed as many other things from feral children to intellectually disabled to psychotic until Leo Kanner published a study using the term autism in 1943. The book then goes on to focus on the age-related issues for assessment methodologies used to diagnose autism. Later chapters address the analysis of the large body of assessment tools for social behavior of infants via home videos and closely following children from birth who are determined to be in high-risk groups. Assessment of communication abilities is also covered, defining frequency and means of the child’s speech and language skills as well as responsiveness to communication from others.

Evaluation of intellectual functioning is covered in depth, as is neuropsychological functioning, which includes cognitive, adaptive, attention, sensory and motor functioning, language, memory, executive and academic functioning, social and emotional skills and visual-spatial functioning. The editors also point out that more than 70% of children diagnosed with ASD also have co-occurring conditions that must also be identified and addressed. Finally the book discusses the path from assessment to intervention, the role of schools in the assessment process and the numerous methods used to help children diagnosed with an ASD function to their full potential at diagnosis and throughout life. This book is a wonderful reference source and may also be a good guide for parents who are versed in the technical terminology associated with ASD. – PS
Published 2009 | The Guilford Press | 72 Spring Street, New York, TX 10012