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LEARN ABOUT EFFECTIVE TREATMENT: Books, Videos and Online Resources

Below you will find various resources for learning more about autism treatment. These include:

  • an annotated list of recommended books, most of which provide useful information about effective teaching programs based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA);
  • dvds and online videos providing opportunities to study and see ABA treatment methods in practice.

Most of these resources can be purchased at Different Roads to Learning, www.difflearn.com, an online company which maintains an excellent selection of high quality teaching products. There are additional book and video reviews in back issues of the CT FEAT Newsletter.

If you would like to suggest books, dvds or online resources for possible inclusion in this list, please write to info@ctfeat.org.

Recommended Books
 

Crafting Connections; Contemporary Applied Behavior Analysis for Enriching the Social Lives of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Taubman, Leaf, McEachin, 2011, DRL Books)

Social deficits define autism spectrum disorders and distinguish them from other kinds of impairments. Without a profound social deficit there is no autism. Given the centrality of this deficit in autism, there is no shortage of “how to” books that purport to address it. Unfortunately, these books usually fall far short of providing the kind of detailed, specific, realistic and practical information needed to make meaningful measurable progress in teaching these critically important skills.

Crafting Connections has an explicitly behavior analytical perspective. As such, it’s a lot more sober-minded than the wishy-washy “feel good” kinds of books typical of this genre. The writers let you know right up front: this stuff is hard! They realize that without a realistic understanding of the complexity of the challenges, which will vary so widely among individuals on the spectrum, you can’t have an effective battle plan for addressing them.
Read a CT FEAT review of this book

Sense and Nonsense in the Behavioral Treatment of Autism: It has to be Said (Ron Leaf, Ph.D., John McEachin, Ph.D., and Mitchell Taubman, Ph.D., 2008 DRL Books).

Are you an educator who believes that attending a few ABA training workshops prepares you to supervise an “ABA program”? Have you ever told parents that ABA treatment consists mostly of “discrete trials” or that their child is too mildly impaired to “need” ABA? Are you a parent who has been told that your child is too young, or too old, to benefit from ABA-based treatment? Do you believe that your child is receiving an “ABA program” at school even though you yourself have never been offered any ABA training?
If you fall in to any of these categories, prepare to be surprised and educated by this book. The widespread prevalence of these kinds of myths about ABA treatment—e.g. that schools can provide it with minimal training or that only certain kinds of kids benefit— motivated the authors to write this important book in order to set the record straight. Read a review of this book


It’s Time for School: Building Quality ABA Educational Programs for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders (Ron Leaf, Ph.D., John McEachin, Ph.D., and Mitchell Taubman, Ph.D. (2008, DRL Books).

This book draws extensively upon the authors pioneering work during this past decade in developing an ABA classroom model that has been used in some of the largest school districts in the United States The book is addressed primarily to school personnel and comes with strong endorsements by various administrators who have implemented the model. But it also should be of great interest to parents wondering about the adequacy or legitimacy of their own school’s “ABA” services. Read a review of this book


Right From The Start: Behavioral Intervention for Young Children With Autism (Sandra Harris, Ph.D., & Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA, Woodbine House, 2nd edition, 2007).  It is widely recognized that children on the autism spectrum make the greatest gains when they receive the earliest possible intensive behavioral intervention. But, even within the world of behavioral treatment, there exist varying approaches and a wide range of quality. Written specifically for parents of newly diagnosed young children, Right From The Start provides all the essential information parents need to answer two of the most urgent questions facing them: 1) whether to seek applied behavior analysis (ABA) based treatment; and 2) how to recognize a good ABA program that fits their child’s particular needs. The authors, professors at Rutgers University with decades of clinical experience treating children with autism, get parents quickly up to speed on all the information they need to make these critical treatment decisions. It is, by far, the single most important first book that parents of young children should read. Read a review of this book

The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping and Healing (Karen Siff Exhorn, 2005). Can too much information be a bad thing? These days the market seems overcrowded with books on autism. Many of these books are of dubious value, even though most seem to find some prominent autism expert (often business or professional colleagues of the author) to endorse them. In such an environment, it can be very difficult for parents to choose which books will be the most helpful for their particular child.

Written by a parent for parents, The Autism Sourcebook is probably the best single book to start you on your reading journey. This book has been endorsed by many luminaries in the autism world, including Temple Grandin, Suzanne and Bob Wright (co-founders of Autism Speaks), and leading autism researchers Geraldine Dawson, Catherine Lord, and Fred Volkmar. And this is definitely one case where the endorsements are merited. No other autism book so nicely balances the provision of practical information, reliable research, and emotional support. Read a review of this book

Teaching Individuals with Developmental Delays: Basic Intervention Techniques (Ivar Lovaas, Pro-Ed, October 2003, 492 pages) This is the follow-up to the ME Book, the Lovaas teaching Manual, and is extremely worthwhile.  It is full of research and instruction for parentes and/or treatment providers and reflects the new data and techniques Ivar Lovaas has developed over the last 40 years. Read a review of this book

ISBN # 0-89079-889



A Work in Progress: Behavioral Management Strategies and a Curriculum for Intensive Behavioral Treatment of Autism (Ron Leaf and John McEachin, Editors, DRL Books, 1999, approximately 400 pages).  (Por información en español, click aquí.)  This wonderful manual, which also is available in Spanish (see above), describes the fundamentals of intensive behavioral intervention in plain English, with clear teaching guidelines, concrete examples, and a fully developed curriculum. No other book currently available contains such an extensive curriculum or as much detailed information about ABA-based teaching techniques. Its authors are highly experienced clinicians who have decades of experience treating children with autism spectrum disorders.  The book is organized into three parts: 1) Behavioral Strategies for Teaching and Improving [the] Behavior of Autistic Children (itself consisting of 12 chapters on topics ranging from reinforcement and toilet training to strategies for shaping play and social skills); 2) The Autism Partnership Curriculum, which has about 60 skill sequences tied to five skill domains (pre-academic, communication/language, academic, social, and self-help); and 3) An Appendices section consisting of seven forms that can be used in setting up and implementing a behavioral intervention program.   (An extensive review of this book appeared in the Summer 1999 CT FEAT Newsletter.)   
ISBN # 0-9665266-0-0

Behavioral Intervention for Young Children With Autism: A Manual for Parents and Professionals (Book, Edited by Catherine Maurice, Gina Greene and Stephen C. Luce, Pro-Ed, 1996).  If there were only one book that a parent of a newly diagnosed child should read, this is it. This book addresses most of the questions that parents have about the merits and mechanics of undertaking an Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) program. There are twenty six contributors to the volume. Many of them are among the most distinguished ABA professionals in the country (including Gina Greene, Stephen C. Luce, Bridget Ann Taylor, Ivar Lovaas, Tristam Smith, Ronald C. Huff and Raymond G. Romanczyk - all of whom have Ph.Ds). There also are contributions from four parents who share their personal experiences with doing an IBI program. The book is divided into nine parts: 1) Introduction; 2) Choosing an Effective Treatment; 3) What to Teach; 4) How to Teach; 5) Who Should Teach; 6) Practical Support: Organizing and Funding; 7) Working With A Speech Language Pathologist; 8) Working With the Schools; 9) From the Front Lines: Parents' Questions, Parents' Voices. ISBN #0-89079-683-1

Making a Difference: Behavioral Intervention for Autism (Book, Edited by Catherine Maurice, Gina Green, and Richard M. Foxx, Pro-ed, 2001).  This excellent book is a follow-up to Behavioral Intervention for Young Children With Autism (described above) and covers a variety of additional topics, including:  incidental teaching techniques to promote spontaneous language, maximizing conversation skills, teaching social skills (accompanied by curriculum), prompting and prompt-fading strategies, dealing with food problems, treating problem behaviors, current information on the nature of autism, and the political turmoil surrounding autism treatment.  There are 17 contributors to the volume, including Deborah Fein, Patricia J. Krantz, Lynn E. McClannahan, Edward C. Fenske, Bridget A. Taylor, and Richard M. Foxx.
ISBN # 0-89079-871-0

Teaching Developmentally Disabled Children: The ME Book (Book, O. Ivar Lovaas, Pro-Ed, 1981)Until the publication of Behavioral Intervention for Young Children With Autism (discussed above), the ME Book was the only "parent-friendly" manual available to parents interested in providing their children with an intervention program grounded in Applied Behavior Analysis. In the sixteen years since the publication of the book, the body of knowledge regarding how to effectively deliver this teaching technology to children with autism spectrum disorders has grown enormously. This welcome development has rendered some of the material in the Me Book obsolete or outdated. Dr. Lovaas reputedly has a second edition of this book in development, which will consist of two volumes. Its publication is expected within the upcoming year. Meanwhile, especially for those parents who are not able to retain the services of qualified ABA consultants, there still is an enormous amount of useful information in this book. It is divided into seven units: 1) Basic Information; 2) Getting Ready to Learn; 3) Imitation, Matching, and Early Language; 4) Basic Self-Help Skills; 5) Intermediate Language; 6) Advanced Language; 7)Expanding Your Child's World.   ISBN #0-936104-78-3


Let Me Hear Your Voice: A Family's Triumph Over Autism (Book, Catherine Maurice, Fawcett Columbine Books, 1993). This beautifully written, moving account of a parent's quest to obtain effective treatment for her two children diagnosed with autism ignited a world wide interest in intensive ABA treatment. Previously, the research documenting the effectiveness of this approach had been little disseminated outside of academia and a handful of center based school programs. Like nearly half of all children who receive a truly optimal intensive behavioral intervention program (Ms. Maurice's lead therapist was the now famous Dr. Bridget Taylor, one of the country's most renowned ABA professionals), the Maurice children so completely remediated their impairments as to become "indistinguishable from their peers" or "recovered" from their autism. This is a wonderful book to share with family members and friends interested in understanding the emotional turmoil experienced by parents of newly diagnosed children and the extremely hard work that goes into implementing an intensive behavioral intervention program.  ISBN #0-449-90664-7 

Reaching Out, Joining In: Teaching Social Skills to Young Children with Autism (Book, Mary Jane Weiss & Sandra L. Harris, Woodbine House, 2001) Mary Jane Weiss and Sandra Harris have done it again. The authors of the indispensable Right From the Start: Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism have written yet another excellent book about autism treatment.

ISBN# 1-890627-24-0.


Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities (Book, Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., and James W. Partington, Ph.D.)  This book presents a language assessment and intervention program based on B.F. Skinner’s behavioral analysis of language, and the extensive body of empirical research that supports Skinner’s analysis. The first section of the book provides information regarding preparation for language intervention. It includes an assessment and a system to interpret the assessment in order to determine the best place to start intervention for an individual child. It also contains information on augmentative communication. Section Two focuses on the development of initial communication skills for nonverbal children and Section Three focuses on teaching more advanced language and social skills. Section Four presents issues relevant to the implementation of a language program in a child’s natural and school environments. In addition there are a variety of data sheets and tracking forms located throughout the book. ( A review of this book appeared in the Fall 1999 CT FEAT Newsletter.) This book and its companion volume (Listed below) can be ordered from www.behavioranalysts.com or from Different Roads to Learning, www.difflearn.com, a mail order company specializing in resources for teaching children with autism.

The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) Revised (Book, James W. Partington, Ph.D. and Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D)   This is a companion set to the work listed immediately above, by the same two authors.  This two part package contains an Assessment, Curriculum Guide and Skills Tracking System. The first part is the ABLLS Scoring Instructions and the IEP Development Guide. The second part is an ABLLS Protocol. (Comes in a Two Volume set.)


Teach Me Language: A Language Manual for Children With Autism Asperger's Syndrome and Related Developmental Disorders (Book, Sabrina Freeman and Lorelei Dake, SKF Books, Canada, 1996).  This is a very "user-friendly" manual, designed for parents and therapists, which targets language weaknesses common to children with autism spectrum disorders. Though not an ABA book per se, many parents doing ABA programs find it a useful resource, especially when their children are ready for more advanced language work. Noting that this "population of children can demonstrate compliance problems when required to work on areas of weakness," the authors recommend "Lovaas type training" or "any behavioral program that brings the child to the point where s/he is table ready." This is a prerequisite for working successfully with the book's curriculum and teaching techniques. According to the authors, the book's various activities and drills are "appropriate for children from kindergarten through the teenage years, with simple adaptation for cognitive level - i.e. the materials become more difficult, yet the activities remain structured in the same way." The book is divided into seven chapters: 1) Introduction; 2) Social Language; 3) General Knowledge; 4) Grammar and Syntax; 5) Advanced Language Development; 6)Academics/Language Based Concepts; 7) Therapy Schedules.  (An extensive review of this book appeared in the Winter 2000 CT FEAT Newsletter.)
ISBN#0-9657565-0-5

When Everybody Cares: Case Studies of Applied Behavior Analysis with People with Autism  (Bobby Newman, Ph.D.,  ISBN: 0-9668528-1-8, Dove and Orca Publishers, 1999).  This very accessible and often humorous book, written by Dr. Bobby Newman, consists of real life case studies demonstrating how practical behavioral methods can improve tremendously the lives of children and adults with autism.   (An extensive review of this book appears in the Summer 2001 CT FEAT Newsletter.)

How to Compromise with Your School District without Compromising Your Child (Gary Mayerson, ISBN: 0966526686, DRL Books, 2004)  Click here for an extensive review of this excellent resource.
Practical Solutions for Educating Young Children with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome (Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., 2008)
As the title suggests, this book focuses on treatment at the milder end of the autism spectrum, including PDD-NOS. These more mildly impaired kids often fall through the cracks when it comes to appropriate ABA treatment. Sometimes the intervention is too “prefabricated,” rather than tailored to their specific skills and deficits. Often the treatment isn’t intensive and systematic enough to adequately teach the varied “how to learn” skills these children must acquire in order to reach their potential for social competence and independent learning. The book is particularly valuable for its discussion of how to use ABA to address social deficits and how an ABA program can effectively incorporate other teaching methods and materials. The author also describes how ABA provides an analytic framework for empirically evaluating the effectiveness of other methods. For more than a decade, Weiss has been one of the directors of the nationally renowned autism research and treatment program at Rutgers University. She has personal hands-on experience working with all kinds of children (along the whole range of impairment) in all kinds of settings (e.g. home programs, schools, etc.). Like all of Weiss’ books, the material is written and presented in such a way as to make it accessible to both professionals and parents.


RECOMMENDED READING: Asperger Syndrome and Its Treatment 
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The following are recommended books for parents of children diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or some other form of mild autism. These are in addition to the books recommended above, many of which are also very useful for helping children with Asperger Syndrome.

For a more extended discussion of how these books might be used in an ABA based treatment program, read "Asperger Syndrome and Mild Autism: Resources for ABA Treatment for Young Children"  This is an excerpt from a longer article reprinted in full at the link: "Recovery From Asperger Syndrome and Other Forms of Mild Autism:  A Parent’s Perspective."

 

The OASIS Guide to Asperger Syndrome: Advice, Support, Insight and Inspiration (Bashe and Kirby, 2nd edition, 2005). This book is the single most helpful introduction into the fascinating and challenging world of Asperger Syndrome. In addition to providing a general but comprehensive overview of diagnostic and treatment issues, the book has an especially effective and insightful section on “The Whole Child,” with chapters on “Your Child’s Emotional Life,” “Your Child in the Social Realm,” “Your Child in School,” and “Growing Up.” The guide draws its title from the acronym for the popular website: Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS), www.aspergersyndrome.org. Maintained by the parent authors who wrote the guide, the web site should be the first port of call for any parent of a newly diagnosed child.

A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive (Ozonoff, Dawson, McPartland, 2002). Written by a team of prominent psychologists, it provides an excellent overview of the topic. The first section focuses on understanding AS and high functioning autism (e.g. diagnosis and treatment issues), while the second section provides ideas for living with AS at home, in school, and through the lifespan.

Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life (Koegel and LaZebnik, 2004). Though this book doesn’t deal specifically with Asperger Syndrome, the behavioral techniques it describes should benefit any child with an autism related diagnosis. The authors’ goal is to teach parents how to improve the symptoms of autism, both at home and in the community, so as to enhance the entire family’s overall quality of life.

Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals (Tony Atwood, 1998). This touching book is well worth reading for its uplifting tone and insights into what it feels like to be a person with AS. But contrary to what its psychologist author seems to think, the book doesn’t contain much in the way of useful treatment information.

Asperger Syndrome (Klin, Volkmar, Sparrow, Editors, 2000) For anyone interested in learning more about the neurological underpinnings of Asperger Syndrome, a good choice would be the collection of scholarly articles found in this book. The editors are internationally renowned researchers at the Yale Child Study Center.

Skill Streaming in Early Childhood: New Strategies and Perspectives for Teaching Prosocial Skills (McGinnis, and Goldstein, revised edition 2003). This is one of a series of books, by the same authors, which describe the development of “prosocial” skills at different stages of childhood. There are separate volumes addressing early childhood, elementary school age, and adolescence. The books also contain ideas for group activities designed to build those skills.

Teaching Your Child the Language of Social Success (Duke, Martin, and Nowicki, 1996). Like the Skill Streaming series described above, this book is not specifically addressed to autism. But parents of children with Asperger Syndrome or mild autism may find it very helpful. It’s addressed to any parent whose child is manifesting social deficits and delays, for whatever reasons. It has especially good discussions about nonverbal language (gestures, glances, proximity, volume, etc.), and lots of practical advice on how to help your child become a more successful social communicator.

Any family that wants to research the scientific data supporting the effectiveness of ABA should begin with the journal articles at the ABA Research link on our site.


DVDS and ONLINE VIDEO INSTRUCTION

DVDs

Work in Progress Companion DVD Series
Building on their seminal guide and curriculum A Work In Progress (reviewed above as a recommended book) Autism Partnership has developed a companion DVD series that synthesizes solid information on various teaching strategies with demonstrations of actual sessions with students. Autism Partnership seeks to been to blend a natural, child-friendly approach to teaching while remaining determinedly systematic. This series offers viewers the unique opportunity to see these approaches implemented in actual teaching environments. Each video is about 30 minutes long. There are five titles: Cool vs. Not Cool, Learning How to Learn, Teaching Interactions, Token Economy, and Developing Reinforcers.

Parents new to ABA may find Volume 2, Learning How to Learn, the most interesting one to start with. It does a really good job of showing that an effective ABA program focuses just as much on teaching "learning to learn skills" (like paying attention to the teacher, peers, and task) as on teaching specific content skills (like labeling). The DVD depicts the kind of one-on-one teaching that is often necessary to get a child ready for group learning and then shows how the same principles get carried over in to the group setting. The kids are mostly ages 4 to 5.

The children in Volume 3, Teaching Interactions, are older (middle school range) and have already been taught the kinds of self-regulation skills that are a prerequisite for teaching social interaction with peers. (No talking on endlessly about video games in this group!). They also have comparatively advanced language abilities. Here the focus is more on self-awareness and analysis and involves an adult leading the students to reflect on why they might want to change certain behaviors and how they might accomplish that.

Most of the DVDs show the centrality of token economies in the Autism Partnership approach to teaching and how tokens are used in both one-on-one and large group teaching. In fact, there is a whole booklet/DVD on the topic (Volume 4). This particular Volume might be of greatest utility to teachers or to parents running home programs.

Various of the DVDs make nice use of role play, showing how students are taught to recognize appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior (e.g. "following directions" vs. "acting silly"). The teachers also make an effort to describe behaviors in "kid" terms - e.g. "cool" vs. "not cool."

These DVDs may be ordered from Different Roads to Learning, www.difflearn.com, which also offers a larger selection of instructional videos and other teaching tools. To learn more about Autism Partnership, go to www.autismpartnership.com

ONLINE VIDEO INSTRUCTION
There is a growing number of online, video-based opportunities to learn more about ABA treatment. Although some of these resources were originally developed to train professionals, many families have found the information highly worthwhile. Here are some examples:

ABA Training & Curriculum Subscription for Parents, Professionals and Schools
This online subscription offers parents, professionals and schools a training platform that provides an efficient, effective and affordable way to understand and use the concepts of ABA. The training is broken into 17 modules, spread out over 5 ½ hours. Each module breaks down skills that can be used in any environment as well as those that are necessary to set up an ABA program and also provides examples using actual students with autism. In addition, the program contains more than 500 precisely written ABA program. These programs are compatible with the ABLLS-R™ and enable users to teach, implement and track valuable skills.
(available at Different Roads to Learning, www.difflearn.com)

Online Staff Training in ABA Fundamentals: Autism Training Solutions
This subscription provides online training to service providers and schools in evidence-based autism interventions. This interactive platform enables service providers and schools to train new employees and provide continuing education and staff development. All videos present actual children, across the spectrum (low-functioning, self-injurious, nonverbal and high-functioning individuals) receiving established autism intervention in the natural environment. Every lesson is delivered through an interactive eTraining platform and is paired with quizzes and a final test. (available at Different Roads to Learning, www.difflearn.com)

Partington Behavior Analysts (www.autismlearn.com) offers continuing education classes for professionals and parents. These classes are taught by Dr. James Partington, an internationally recognized expert in behavior analysis and verbal behavior interventions for children with autism, and his highly qualified staff. Professionals can earn CEU credits. There are currently 3 online courses available: Introduction to Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Delays by Dr. Partington; Introduction to ABLLS-R: The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised by Dr. Partington; Establishing ABA Programs for Children by Doctors Coby and Janet Lund. This course can also be found at their company’s website, www.maximumpotentialkids.com

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