Anne Carpenter’s March Book Review

TITLE: Early Intervention Strategies for Autism: A Comprehensive Approach (Kindle Edition)

AUTHOR: Meller, Jennifer

SUBJECT AREA: Autism-Early Intervention-Treatments and Therapies

PUBLISHER: Jennifer Meller

PUBLICATION DATE: 2023

NUMBER OF PAGES: (Print Edition) 497

Part of the title of this new book is “A Comprehensive Approach” and I do mean comprehensive.  As the reader can see, once you delve into this massive volume that has so much information, it is best to pick away at the book a little at a time, otherwise one may be overwhelmed.

After the usual introductory chapter where the author describes the voyage the author went through in helping her daughter Hannah, comes what steps needed to be taken including a diagnosis, setting the stage for intervention and finding community supports.

Chapter Two is devoted to defining autism, including the importance of early intervention, stories of success with early intervention, social communication, interpreting body language, and discerning tones of voice. The author breaks each section down into tools and techniques that can help children with ASD such as Social Stories, interactive dialog and using picture books to help the child decode facial expressions. This chapter contains a wealth of information and practical tips on how to teach other social behaviors. Examples include taking turns and using social skills groups to help the child learn to get along with classmates and people in the community. Subsequent chapters delve more thoroughly into other interventions from Communication Strategies to Behavioral Intervention, Educational Approaches, Nutritional and Physical Health, all the way to Advocacy and Legal Rights and transitioning to adulthood and the use of newer technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented or Mixed Reality (AR).

As with the first two chapters, the following chapters are broken down into sub-chapters with each of them describing the process in minute detail including a description of the process and specific strategies to be used. Each of these ends with a series of short vignettes describing the problem at hand, what was done and how that particular strategy helped the person with autism to feel more comfortable in social environments, to feel less overwhelmed by sensory input or show improvement in social skills.

The whole setup of this book is absolutely brilliant; I love all the sub-chapters as they break down what would otherwise be an overwhelming sea of information into more digestible chunks that a parent can refer to again and again and actually use the concrete steps to implement the strategy at hand. The explanations of processes and concepts are clear and concise so that the reader can easily understand the information. In addition, no stone is left unturned here; the author covers the gamut-from ABA to Floortime-DIR to gluten-casein free diets to guardianship, this book has it all! I would heartily recommend this to all parents and teachers of children, teens and adults with ASD, as the book moves from childhood to adulthood with the last chapter focusing on adult issues. This orderly, chronological approach is especially useful so the book can be used for many years.

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