Anne Carpenter’s September Book Review

TITLE: Autism and Education-The Way I See It: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know

AUTHOR:  Grandin, Temple, Ph.D.

SUBJECT AREA: Autism-Education

PUBLISHER: Future Horizons



Among Dr. Temple Grandin’s many books on autism, education and other related topics, Autism and Education-The Way I see It: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know is the newest one out of the gate and for a short book of only a little over a hundred pages, it packs a lot of useful information. The book is divided into two main chapters, with Chapter One being “The Importance of Early Educational Intervention” and Chapter Two being “Teaching & Education.” Each chapter has several sub chapters dealing with a specific topic.

Grandin starts out with a Foreword that answers some common questions including the best early intervention therapy where the author gives advice on evaluating a treatment method. She strongly supports ABA for very young children with ASD, noting that earlier uses of the therapy were often too punitive and that for-profit clinics tend to extend the therapy for a child longer than necessary. Another question she addresses is that of “stimming,” where she seems to recommend substituting a “stim” with something else such as doodling instead of spinning an object.

In Chapter One, Grandin discusses the importance of acting quickly when a child is diagnosed with autism with early intervention being the key to later progress; she can’t state strongly enough the importance of keeping the child engaged with the world instead of being allowed to “zone out” on electronics or hours of TV watching. She also doesn’t want one to be trapped by a label as there is so much overlap between neurological conditions such as ADHD, autism and other learning disabilities.

The author stresses the importance of higher expectations for children with autism. Presuming competence and giving a child that gentle nudge can make all the difference. In addition, she discusses the importance of learning how to take turns and learning how to wait patiently such as having to wait in line at the grocery store. She also helps parents to decide what school is best for their child with autism giving advice on classroom size.

Other topics include different thinking patterns in people with autism with some being visual thinkers and other people being pattern or verbal thinkers. In Chapter Two, the author goes into more specifics including teaching children with autism to generalize from one situation to the next, to being more flexible as anything can go wrong at any time, teaching concepts, bottom-up thinking, developing talent, turning kids on to the wonders of reading and keeping kids with ASD motivated. She also discusses recent issues including addiction to video games but in my opinion addiction to social media is now the newest scourge of modern society.

This book is small, but MIGHTY. So much information, guidance and advice is packed into a small package and the icing on the cake is that Grandin peppers each chapter with examples from her own personal experiences and each small section includes a list of references. This should be on every library shelf!

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