By Bryna Siegel
An insightful, thoroughly practical guide to treating the learning disabilities associated with autism. The trouble with treating autism, says the author, is that it is a spectrum disorder – a combination of a number of symptoms and causes. To one extent or another, it robs the child of social bonds, language, and intimacy – but the extent varies dramatically in each case.
The key is to understand each case of autism as a discrete set of learning disabilities, each of which must be treated individually. The book explains how to take an inventory of a child’s particular disabilities, breaks down the various kinds unique to autism, discusses our current knowledge about each, and reviews the existing strategies for treating them.
There is no simple cure for this multifarious disorder; instead, an individual program, with a unique array of specific treatments, must be constructed for each child. Siegel gives practical guidance for fashioning such a program, empowering parents to take the lead in their child’s treatment.
At the same time, she cautions against the proliferating, but questionable, treatments hawked to families of autistic children. She knows the panic to do something, anything, to help an autistic child, and she offers parents reassurance and support as well as sensible advice, combining knowledge from experience, theory and research. 512 pages. Hardcover. June 2003.