Starting Points: The Basics of Understanding and Supporting Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome

Starting Points: The Basics Understanding and Supporting Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome

Author: Brenda Smith Myles and Jill Hudson
Publishing Info: Softcover 59 pages / September 2007
Reviewed by Maureen Bennie: Director, Autism Awareness Centre Inc.

Starting Points is a handy guide designed to help anyone who is new to the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. Educators, therapists, and parents will learn strategies to work effectively with that individual. Constructed in an easy-to-follow format complete with icons, charts, and other visual supports, this book will lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed when assisting someone with Asperger Syndrome.

The book begins with a list of 10 actions or preferences that you may observe in an individual with Asperger Syndrome. Some examples of these actions/preferences are self regulation, structure and predictability, understanding the thoughts and feelings of others, and school subjects. Every action/preference is accompanied by an icon that heads each one of the ten chapters. The strategies for these are indicated by a clipboard icon, then each strategy is highlighted by a box with a checkmark. Case examples are written within an index card with a paper clip. These visual aids make information easy to follow and quickly accessible. You can investigate the different strategies within a topic, experiment, and find what works for each individual. As with any person, one strategy does not work for all.

If you are new to Asperger Syndrome, you will learn the tried and true strategies for working with these individuals such as the 5 Point Scale, comic strip conversations, behavioral contingency plans, and The Hidden Curriculum methods. If you discover that one of those particular strategies is working, these strategies are expanded upon in other books such as The Incredible 5 Point Scale, The Way to A, and The Hidden Curriculum. Strategies from other books are referenced on the same page they are presented on making it effortless to find the expanded text materials.

There are 5 pages of references and resources provided on excellent books and articles. The references are grouped by topic such as behavior, cognition and academic, or sensory issues. These headings make it easier to find more in-depth materials on topics of interest.

Starting Points is just that – a great tool to get started working with an individual with Asperger Syndrome. The simple format, overview of strategies related to actions/preference, and the strong visual supports will lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed by the abundance of resources that are now available about Asperger Syndrome. This is a great place to begin your journey!

Visit Autism Awareness Centre’s Bookstore to purchase Starting Points: The Basics Understanding and Supporting Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome.

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