Book Review - A Work In Progress

Dear Readers,
Today I want to share our experience of reading and implementing the techniques in the book " A Work in Progress" , by Ron Leaf and John McEachin. We bought this book nearly six years back when we were still trying to cope with autism diagnosis and not knowing how to help our son. This book helped us immensely. This book focusses on behavioral strategies for teaching and improving behavior of autistic children using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). It starts off with an introduction to intensive behavioral intervention, reinforcements and moves onto defining and understanding disruptive behavior and ways of handling it. You will also find separate chapters discussing self stimulatory behaviors, sleep problems, toilet training, eating problems, play and social skills and social play.

               My favorite part of the book is the second part titled The Autism partnership curriculum for discrete trial teaching with autistic children. It teaches practical implementation of ABA in teaching various concepts like nonverbal imitation, motor skills, matching, joint attention,same vs different, and many more. The list is too exhaustive for me to include it here. It short, it is a treasure chest of activity ideas! Let me elaborate this with an example. Under the topic matching, the authors talk about twenty phases of learning with phase 1 talking about object to object matching to phase 4 about colour matching to phase 10 about multiple dimensions (identical colour/shape/size combination) to  phase 17 about learning associations about what does this go with? all phases explained with multiple examples of ways of learning. That's how thorough the book is. Its like attending a week long workshop!

                      Though there are differing opinions about the effectiveness of ABA, I personally feel that ABA or for that matter any therapy will work only if  it is adapted to child and not the other way around! When using ABA, using social reinforcements and  adapting the therapy techniques taking into consideration the child's sensory, physical and emotional limitations are keys to successful learning. Making therapy sessions playful and child centric is our secret!
Thank you
Padma Jyothi
Posted in Book Review on May 04 at 07:26 AM

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