How professionals can help empower parents of a newly diagnosed child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

“Professionals need to feel comfortable as facilitators of parents’ learning and engagement with their child at home, rather than seeing themselves as therapist experts who work one-on-one with children. While the latter is sometimes necessary, the former is where we can have the biggest long-term impact on helping parents realise their full potential and assisting them to maximise their daily interactions with their child so that they become more responsive to their child’s needs and communicative attempts. This builds positive parent-child relationships.”

Incorporating Music into Speech and Language Therapy for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders – An Interview with Dr. Hayoung Lim

“Children with ASD appear to have intact pattern perception and production ability. They also tend to follow the Gestalt style of language acquisition which is based on the pattern perception. In parallel, all of the musical behaviors require pattern perception and production; and these abilities are commonly found in children with ASD. It follows that patterns in music can facilitate the Gestalt style of language acquisition and the consequent speech- language development in children with ASD.”

“One should never underestimate the capabilities of children with special needs or their creativity.” – An Interview with Johanne Hanko

“…one of my favorite games [in the book] is ‘Contemporary Music or Drawing Music’ (activity #80, page 103) because I was told not to use this game with children with differentiated capacities or in mainstream classes because it would lead to failure: ‘Children in special education and elementary school children cannot compose,’ I was told. Well I can tell you this is not true. I was amazed to see the creativity of some of the children, while all came up with something different and interesting; some compositions were quite beautiful. One should never underestimate the capabilities of children with special needs and their creativity.”

Looking beyond “bad” behaviour – Melanie Cross on the importance of recognising communication difficulties in young people

“Non-compliance might be due to not understanding what’s been asked and not knowing how to ask for clarification. What might be seen as a refusal to explain might be due to difficulties constructing coherent narratives. Conflict resolution and negotiation require high-level language skills and if these are lacking, then aggression can result. If adults do not recognise the underlying communication problems, the children and young people who experience them can be misunderstood and even misdiagnosed.”

“I realized that I could help others find their voice” – An Interview with America X. Gonzalez, co-author of Speech in Action

“Speech in Action works well with children on the autism spectrum is because it is fun…If the student is bored out of his or her mind they won’t pay enough attention to learn anything. On the other hand, if they are actively engaged in a lesson they will pay enough attention to allow the information to enter their brains. They might need some repetition to completely learn the concept but since the activities are fun the kids beg us to do them all the time.”

Toward an independent lifestyle – Karra Barber talks about her new skill-building workbook for teens and young adults on the autism spectrum

“My son is seventeen and is approaching the age of maturity. In an effort to prepare him toward an independent lifestyle (his goal as well), I knew we needed to build his life and community skills. I wanted him to feel confident in everyday tasks such as buying food, returning an item at the store, going to the bank, washing clothes, using public transportation or making himself a meal…”