Overcoming Autism

Oh, dear, I only just noticed that I never altered the text that I slammed up here when I first created the blog–and it’s just the stiffly written book jacket copy.  Or catalog copy.  Some copy.   Anyway, my apologies to anyone who’s come to this page and been bored and wondered why I’m talking about myself in the third person.  At any rate, here’s the copy and I’ll try to update with something more interesting when I’m not so tired . . .

Clinician Koegel (cofounder of the Autism Research Center at the University of California Santa Barbara) and novelist LaZebnik (Same As It Ever Was), mother of an autistic boy, team up “to show you how intelligent, well-planned early interventions… can improve the symptoms of autism enormously.” That doesn’t mean that they offer easy remedies to what’s practically an epidemic (they estimate 1 in 150 births result in an autistic child). The technique of “applied behavior analysis” (a behavior modification program stressing close observation and positive reinforcement by parents and doctors), say the authors, can reduce the withdrawal and other characteristic behaviors of autism while improving a child’s prognosis for intellectual and social development. They organize chapters by behaviors typical of autism, e.g., “Ending the Long Silence”; “Tears, Meltdowns, Aggression, and Self-Injury”; and “Self Stimulation.” The coauthors take turns in each chapter, first discussing symptoms clinically and then anecdotally from a parent’s perspective. Koegel believes disruptiveness and self-involvement are often attempts to communicate, and suggests ways to tailor replacements for such conduct. LaZebnik adds soothing, often wry first-person advice. As the mother of a boy who “was entirely nonverbal at age two and a half,” LaZebnik’s good news leavens Koegel’s sometimes daunting program of behavior analysis, positive modeling and incentives. Encouraging but realistic, the authors’ humane, proactive tactics toward improving autistic behavior will interest parents willing to take a labor-intensive, teaching approach to their child’s disorder.

8 responses to “Overcoming Autism

  1. Hello my name is Anna Caruso and I have a son 6 years old. I loved the book overcoming autism and would love to communicate with you in relation to your opinion of this disorder. I live in Australia (Adelaide).

  2. keepitreal

    The term autistic has been misused to describe persons with anything from cerebral allergies and schizophrenia to attention deficient disorder and post traumatic disorder. Sadly, few doctors and educators understand true cases of autism to make a correct diagnosis. So they go with the latest media driven flow. Pick and choose from a broad and ever expanding spectrum. Or worse, they guess. The hallmark traits of autism are: sensitivity to sounds, specific tastes in food/drink, strange body postures, repetitive behaviors, inability to control emotions or excitement, poor reasoning skills, needs routines, resists changes, sense of direction and memory better than other skills, thinking based on association, not reasoning, once distracted by olfactory, visual or auditory stimuli, they become preoccupied. This is markedly DIFFERENT than ADHD, in that ADHD presents as easily distracted by stimuli, BUT, the person bounces focus from one thing to another. ADHD people don’t stay hyper-focused or fixate on something. That is what you will see a truly autistic person do. Fixate. Appear to be in a world of their own. Not wanting to play or socialize with others. Not wanting to play or socialize with others is only a hallmark trait of autism when it ALSO involves, not willfully choosing to ignore or not play with others. A truly autistic person doesn’t choose to not play or socialize, it’s simply who they are– not to play or socialize with others—is in itself the core of autism—within oneself. They may show signs of affection or social skills, but it will almost always be brief.

    Autism research examines high functioning Autism (and Aspergers) but continues to ignore low functioning (severely) autistic subjects. So, if research is focused exclusively, or almost exclusively, on participants with high functioning autism or Aspergers, HOW much do we REALLY know about Autistic Disorder which, by definition, includes those with low functioning autism if we don’t’ study low functioning autism? Let’s be honest, many researchers are uninterested in an autism case that doesn’t have a direct bearing on a positive grant flow

  3. EllieNYC

    I have a son (17years old) on the spectrum [as well as a 20year old daughter w/ADHD] & I teach adolescents with autism AND — I loved / love this book. I’ve read it completely several times & more often parts of it. Thank you thank you thank you, and Dr. Koegel:

  4. Claire

    I’m thrilled you’ve found so much to love in the book. Thanks for letting me know!

  5. Qui DIaz

    My niece has autism pretty profound and has been fortunate to have a proactive family and those of us who work in the field. I am hoping to help out in bigger ways and wondering what inspired you? Your son for sure, and how wonderful that things have been working out, i wish the same for my niece.

  6. Anonymous

    Hi,
    I can thank you enough for writing this book.. It has been a big help with our son Alex who is 4. I wanted to ask if there is Spanish version of it, if not, how can we make this happen.. I think this book would be an incredible help to families whose primarily language is Spanish. In my household my wife is not fluent in English and my translation does not deliver the equal message.

  7. Claire

    Thanks for writing. We’ve had other requests for a Spanish translation. The book has been translated into a few other languages, but unfortunately not yet Spanish. I’ll forward your request to a couple of people and see if we can get some movement in that direction!

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