Rising to New Heights of Communication and Learning for Children with Autism.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Boyle, Paul
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: British Journal of Occupational Therapy Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. ISSN: 0308-0226
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 74 Source Issue: 8
Topic: NamedWork: Rising to New Heights of Communication and Learning for Children with Autism (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Spears, Carol L.; Turner, Vicki L.
Accession Number: 265976940

Carol L Spears and Vicki L Turner.

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010. 13.99 [pounds sterling].

144 pp. ISBN 978-1-84905-837-7

This is an interesting and highly practical book which I enjoyed reading. Despite the long title it is actually quite a short book, or guide as the cover more accurately describes itself. Inside there is an overview of Alternative-Augmentative Communication, strategies to support learning including visual supports, social stories and structured environments, and brief summaries of other subjects, such as sensory integration and applied behaviour analysis. Each chapter follows a similar outline exploring issues related to Who, What, Why, How, When and Where. These headings are clear and helpful for those with little experience in the subject area; others will find the signposting to further information useful, including some interesting websites.

It is an easy read with clear descriptions as to the variety of communication strategies used with children with autism. It would be easy to consider that this book is for speech and language therapists, but it will probably appeal most to parents and teaching assistants. It is likely that experienced therapists will be familiar with much of the guide's information; however, it is a useful resource for students preparing for a placement and for newly qualified personnel, or those seeking a move to children's services.

There is an underlying optimism about the development of children with autism that runs throughout the book, which in my view offers inspiration to readers. Whilst not underplaying the challenges that may be experienced by parents, therapists and others, its approach is encouraging and its practical advice should foster confidence in the classroom and elsewhere. The authors clearly have substantial experience, and have successfully brought together a wide variety of strategies and approaches, resulting in a concise and valuable source of information which will assist those working with children in schools and elsewhere in the community.

Paul Boyle, Occupational Therapist and Senior Lecturer, East Sussex County Council and University of Brighton.
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