The Diary of a Social Detective: Real–life Tales of Mystery, Intrigue and Interpersonal Adventure

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December, 2012
Jeffrey E. Jessum, Ph.D.
The Diary of a Social Detective: Real–life Tales of Mystery, Intrigue and Interpersonal Adventure

This fictional book was written by a child psychologist to help children with social deficits learn about social rules and expectations through a story format. The main character, Johnny, helps fellow peers ‘solve’ social mysteries involving problems they are having with their friends. In each chapter, Johnny investigates a different social ‘mystery,’ using his detective skills to help his friends figure out why they are having problems. After explaining the problem to his friends, Johnny then offers them some helpful advice. Topics covered include personal space, understanding and using humor, tone of voice and loudness, bullying, hogging the conversation, sportsmanship, and respecting other’s opinions. In each chapter, the same series of questions is presented to help the reader solve the social mystery before Johnny reveals his conclusions.
The book is written at an upper-intermediate, middle school level, and would be an ideal addition to a social skills program. Children could be guided through a single chapter to help address a particular problem they are having, or through the whole book to gain practice with being their own social detective.

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The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide: Candid Advice for Teens, Tweens and Parents from a Young Man with Asperger’s Syndrome

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November, 2012
J. D. Kraus
2010
The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide: Candid Advice for Teens, Tweens and Parents from a Young Man with Asperger’s Syndrome

As the title indicates, this book is written by an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) and is directed at adolescents with AS and their parents.

The book provides a firsthand account of what it means to live with AS and is loaded with practical advice on managing school and the social world.

Each chapter tackles a different topic including: staying organized for school, dealing with transitions, sensory and motor-issues, coping with stress, learning to drive, struggles with understanding others, friendships and dating, to name a few. This easy-to-read book can help individuals with AS develop an understanding of their disorder and provide ways to cope. This book will also provide parents (and professionals) with some good insight into what makes their children with AS tick, and how to help them.

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Bubble Riding: A Relaxation Story

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October, 2012
Lori Lite, illustrated by Max Stasuyk
2008
Bubble Riding: A Relaxation Story

This beautifully illustrated children’s book explores relaxation. The main character, a sea creature, and her turtle friend ride bubbles through the sea, experiencing different stages of relaxation as their bubbles encounter the colors of the rainbow. Rich with imagery of color, body sensations, and positive emotional states, this book would serve well as the basis for ongoing conversations about relaxation in both the classroom and the home.

This book is one of a series of 4 books from Indigo Dreams aimed at helping families manage stress, anger, and anxiety.

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Count Me In! Ideas for Actively Engaging Students in Inclusive Classrooms

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August, 2012
Richard Rose, Michael Shelvin
2010
Count Me In! Ideas for Actively Engaging Students in Inclusive Classrooms

Count Me In! Ideas for Actively Engaging Students in Inclusive Classrooms provides positive and practical ways of involving students in general education classrooms. This book includes many practical ideas to get students involved, such as asking for their opinions about lessons and how they are learning as well as giving them an opportunity to have some say in their assessment and in school life.
This practical book would be a valuable resource to teachers in inclusive general education classrooms.

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Incentives for Change: Motivating People with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Learn and Gain Independence

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July, 2012
Lara Delmolino, Sandra L. Harris
2004
Incentives for Change: Motivating People with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Learn and Gain Independence

Incentives for Change explores systems for determining what incentives children and adults with ASD will find rewarding, and ways to use motivation as a tool to affect their learning and behaviour. This easy-to-follow guide explains a variety of motivational methods and systems, including how to: Identify potential incentives; Transition from concrete to intangible incentives; Use reinforcements or rewards to increase motivation; Teach a child to express what he wants; Understand 'establishing operation' and other concepts that affect motivation; Motivate children with ASD to make choices; Implement token systems to enable children to delay reinforcement; Encourage independence and self-management skills.

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Effervescence: A True Tale of Autism and Courage

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June, 2012
Simone Brenneman
2010
Effervescence: A True Tale of Autism and Courage

Effervescence is a personal account of a mom’s journey to understand her daughter and son with autism. Through diaries and journals Simone kept she recounts the development of her daughter Genevieve and son Hayden from their early years through to their teenage years. Effervescence is filled with tales of triumph and courage as we read about Simone’s attempts to reach her children and find supportive ways for them to reach back into their family’s world.

Drawing from the journals and diaries Simone kept while her children were young provided her with these true life accounts which she calls “tales of courage and evolving”. This book focuses primarily on Genevieve as she was the first born of Simon’s two children with autism. Simone has also written a second book, The Castle We Called Home which chronicles her son Hayden’s experiences as he was growing up.

Simone made use of her artistic view to creatively discover ways of reaching Genevieve and Hayden. She turned to Genevieve’s love of fantasy as a way to enter their worlds in order that they would feel understood and valued. Fantasy was an intricate part of Genevieve’s personality and how she interpreted life. From an early age she preferred to wear long Cinderella dresses and play alone with a variety of animal figurines. By submerging herself in their world and acting as their “stepping stone”, Simone both guided and followed her children as she acted as their therapist, artistic director and mom. She found that as much as entering their world was difficult it was also fascinating to her.

Simone describes the complexity experienced by all their family members when dealing with Genevieve who could be an amazingly effervescent young child one moment then could turn into a tirading tiger the next for no apparent reason. As a result her family learned to tread lightly and use creative ways of approaching her.

As a result of the efforts of Genevieve’s parents, two older siblings and others in her life as well as her own courageous efforts to step out in to the world we are left with a vision of the gifted young woman that she became.

Simone states that Effervescence is not a how to book for parents with autism but rather a book of “paintings and illustrations” that will help others enter the mind and body of autism because although each child is unique there are many common threads that connect them. For parents, educators and other professionals who work with individuals with autism and their families it is well worth setting aside the time to read about Genevieve and Simone’s fascinating journey.

After Temple Grandin read Effervescence she called Simone to say “I loved the creativity and positive attitude in this book. It has such a refreshing outlook.”

Simone Brenneman’s books are available through Amazon Books or by going to her website at www.autismembrace.com.

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Optimistic Parenting: Hope and Help for You and Your Challenging Child

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May, 2012
V. Mark Durand
May, 2011
Optimistic Parenting: Hope and Help for You and Your Challenging Child

Dr. Durand is a world renowned expect in autism and challenging behaviours. He has been a leading researcher in many of the important interventions we value for children with autism such as the concept of teaching functional communication. He is the author of several books that been helpful for families with children with autism including his book, Sleep Better, which provides intervention strategies for sleep issues.

Dr. Durand’s most recent book recounts what he has learned from working with parents for many years. Optimistic Parenting details a philosophy and practical techniques for parents to use to assist them in becoming more confident, skillful and positive in their parenting of children with challenging behaviour. His insight into this topic is based on his observation of his own parenting experiences, other persons parenting styles as well as a long term research project working with parents to examine and in some cases reframe their thinking regarding their ability to change their child’s behaviour.

Over the years, Dr. Durand has worked with children with challenging behaviours and their families he found that the best predictor of child outcome was parent’s attitude toward their ability to effect change in their child’s behaviour. Parents who had an optimistic belief that their child could change their behaviour created the larger degree of behaviour change in their child. During his research project, strategies were discussed to assist parents in increasing their understanding of challenging behaviour and make plans to prevent or deal with them. In addition, during this series of sessions parents were provided with strategies to assist them in gaining insight into their own thoughts while their child was engaging in challenging behaviour.

For parents who had a pessimistic view about their ability to effect change in their child’s behavior, strategies such as distraction and substitution were introduced for them to use to try to change the way they thought about their ability to parent and gain some control of their thoughts. Distraction strategies such as interrupting unproductive or distressing thoughts were suggested and practiced by parents. Substitution strategies included replacing unproductive and distressing thoughts with more positive thoughts.

Optimistic Parenting also provides a step by step guide to analyzing challenging behaviour, responding to it with confidence and teaching replacement behaviours for lasting behaviour improvement. Separate chapters are included to specifically address interventions for transitions and sleep.

Optimistic Parenting is a valuable resource both for parents who are unsure of their parenting skills and are looking for tools to change their behaviour as well as their child’s and for parents who are confident that they can effect change but are looking for additional strategies to assist them in the behaviour change process.

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Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching for Children with Autism

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April, 2012
Aubyn C. Stamhmer, Sarah Reed, Laura Scheibman and Cynthia Bolduc
2011
Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching for Children with Autism

This resource provides a variety of strategies for school staff to use to implement Pivotal Response Teaching (PTR) procedures into the daily activities in their classroom for young students with autism or special needs as well as typically developing children.

PTR is an evidence-based naturalistic behavioural approach based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis. Components of the PTR model which include strategies for developing a student’s motivation to learn, ability to initiate, respond to multiple cues and self management skills are described in this resource. Examples of strategies to develop these responses include using preferred materials or offering choices. Both appropriate and inappropriate examples of the application of Classroom PTR are provided to clarify how this model works. The PTR model is very versatile as it can be used with individual children or groups of students. PTR teaching strategies can aid in developing play, social, communication, and academic skills as well as promoting generalization of skills. Examples as to how these procedures can be linked to goals, objectives and data based monitoring of students at a variety of functioning levels are included in this resource. Reproducible handouts, forms and data collection samples as well as training lectures and videos on a DVD-ROM to assist in planning and implementing PTR in the classroom are included in this resource.

Although this book is geared primarily to teachers and other professionals, it also has excellent applicability for use by parents in assisting their child in developing skills. Part 1 of the resource deals with implementing PTR strategies with an individual student. One of the book’s chapters provides information as to how parents can implement these strategies in the home setting.

This resource which has applicability both to home and school settings offers very practical and doable strategies for enhancing a child’s skills in a variety of areas.

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Apps for Autism

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March, 2012
Lois Jean Brody
2011
Apps for Autism by Lois Jean Brody

Apps for Autism is an informative guide to over 200 computer applications for improving various developmental areas including communication, behaviour, social skills, academics and daily living skills using iDevices such as an iPod or iPad.

In the introductory chapter, the author describes how to choose an app, find or download one and identifies best practices when using computer applications as "iTherapy” tools. She describes “iTherapy” tools as using Apple products and computer applications to assist in meeting a student’s individual or educational goals.

The book is divided into eleven sections and 31 chapters. Each chapter contains an introduction, either information about using the apps presented or a success story concerning a student effectively using one of the apps described. Generally, each page is devoted to describing a particular app including the developer’s information and a customer review. A colour photo of each app included in the book is also featured.

Many of the applications described are not specific to students with autism but would be suitable for their use. For example, a “First Then Visual Schedule” by Good Karma Applications or “Strip Designer” by Vivid Apps to develop personalized comic strips would appeal not only to students with autism but to many other students as well.

As computer applications are continually being updated and new ones are created, the publisher of this book (Future Horizons) has a website (http://www.fhautism.com) where people can go to receive information about new apps or download app updates.

Apps for Autism is a potentially useful resource for parents or teachers who are new to using apps or searching for interesting, educational and relevant applications to enhance students’ skills through the use of iDevices.

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Cookbooks for Special Chefs and Non-Readers

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February, 2012
Joyce Dassonville, Ehren McDow
Cookbooks for Special Chefs and Non-Readers

The Picture Cookbook, No-Cook Recipes for the Special Chef by Joyce Dassonville and Ehren McDow (2008)
This visual cookbook has clear photos for individuals to follow independently when preparing each recipe. A visual index allows the individual to easily select the recipes they want to prepare. Instructions for teaching someone how to use the recipe book and issues that might arise are also included. The recipes that are included are safe for anyone to use.

Visual Recipes : A Cookbook for Non-Readers by Tabitha Orth (2006)
This visual cook book contains 35 recipes for the non reader to prepare independently by following each photo for the recipe. For individuals who are able to read, simple instructions accompany each photo. This is an excellent book to assist individuals to develop independent cooking skills.

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