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Enabling Communication in Children with Autism

Table of
The early stages of linguistic and social interaction are crucial in the development of every child, but particularly in children with autism. This work shows how a range of social and environmental influences may significantly affect these children, including classroom management, levels of motivation and interaction with adults and other children. From their clinical, practical and classroom research, the authors show how the communication skills of children with autism can be helped by the skilful use of an integrated range of strategies and approaches. As well as providing an overview of the major theoretical issues involved, this volume also provides practical ways of modifying unhelpful environments in order to enhance communication skills. The authors argue that encouraging spontaneous communication should be viewed as a major educational goal and that children with minimal or no speech can and do communicate when they have access to enabling environments.
The research - approaches and findings; a minimal speech approach; proximal communication; prompting for spontaneous communication; developing systems of communication; creating opportunities for communication; developing interaction between children with autism; communication enabling styles of classroom management; the curricular context.
The authors of this book departed from previous approaches in that their focus was on spontaneous communication and the capacity of children with autism to initiate and approach others when presented with communication enabling environments. Apart from describing the research, the book has chapters on exactly what a minimum speech approach consists of with examples of how to use it. There is an excellent chapter on 'enabling styles of class-room management' which presents principles of good practice not only for class-rooms but for any service where there are individuals with significant learning difficulties. It is a book that I will be going back to and recommending to parents, teachers of young children, class-room assistants and speech and language therapists.
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