The Socially Included child - A parent's guide to successful play dates, recreation and family events for children with Autism is written by Laurie LeComer, who has M.Ed. in special education and many years of experience working with children with Autism, helping them navigate the social world and enjoy the social events while still accommodating their special needs.
The book is divided into three parts. Part one is social considerations and Individualized expectations and has separate chapters on - Your child's interests, approachability and communication style, Understanding sensory sensitivites and tolerance, Non conducive behaviours and safety, Enlisting help from parents, teachers and peers and Pairing right activities with right reinforcements. In the chapter on Sensory sensitivities, the author asks parents to identify "Sensory Hot Spots" of their child by making a list of when he/she gets excited or scared, , kind of touch he tolerates, how she reacts to different sensory experiences, like sound, commotion, pain, clothing, toileting, hugging, etc.
Part two is the heart of the book where the author elaborates in detail about her unique method - IDEAL which stands for:
I - Introduce an activity
D - Determine the tasks involved
E - Evaluate your expectations
A - Accommodate for success and
L - List the activity components individually.
This method makes it possible for any child with Autism, irrespective of his/her sensory or behaviour difficulties to engage in social events because it takes into consideration his unique sensory and behaviour profile and tailors social events accordingly, giving more importance to accommodate his/her unique needs in social events!
Part three is Facilitating social opportunities using IDEAL and has separate chapters for social events like play dates, birthday parties, family holiday gatherings, recreational activities, family restaurant visits and trips. Each of these chapters has guidelines for planning using IDEAL method as well as real life examples of parents who have used IDEAL method and how it helped their child. Part two is the theoretical aspect of IDEAL method whereas part three is the practical aspect of implementing IDEAL method in everyday social life of your child.
This is a very useful book for parents of children with Autism!