Bryna Siegel - Helping Children With Autism Learn

from the publisher:
Bryna Siegel gives parents of autistic children what they need most: hope. Her first book, The World of the Autistic Child, became an instant classic, illuminating the inaccessible minds of afflicted children. Now she offers an equally insightful, thoroughly practical guide to treating the learning disabilities associated with this heartbreaking disorder.

The trouble with treating autism, Siegel writes, 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. Siegel 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, she writes; instead, an individual program, with a unique array of specific treatments, must be constructed for each child. She 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 afflicted families. 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.

For parents, autism in a child is heartbreaking. But it need not be overwhelming. Bryna Siegel offers a new understanding, and a practical, thoughtful approach, that will give parents new hope.

"This book contains an abundance of clearly written, easy to understand information for educating the child with autism." --Temple Gradin, author of Thinking in Pictures

"This is a very positive book -- sensitive to the dilemmas that children with autism face and positive about their ability to learn and adapt. It focuses on solutions to the challenges that autism presents, solutions that lead to new learning and adapting. Siegel's conversational style of language makes the book highly accessible for parents, teachers, and the various interventionists who serve children with autism. Her description of the matrix of abilities and disabilities -- how the core neuropsychological features of autism come together to create patterns of strengths and weaknesses -- demystifies some of the puzzle of autism. She draws the outline of the separate pieces and shows how they fit together to form both the familiar pattern of autism that clinicians recognize but also the individual profile that defines each individual person with autism." --Sally Rogers, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California Davis Medical Center

"Bryna Siegel has made a thoughtful and learned analysis of the unique and perplexing learning strengths and weaknesses exemplified by the autism spectrum. Her book makes a valuable contribution to parents and professionals searching for clarification." --Eric Schopler, Founder and Co-Director, Division TEACCH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"The landscape of educational and treatment options for children with autism spectrum disorders is complex and often overwhelming for parents and professionals. Drawing from her many years of experience, Dr. Siegel provides a helpful guide for making decisions about directions in educational programming." --Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Director, Childhood Communication Services and Adjunct Professor, Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown University

Dr. Bryna Siegel is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and Director of its Autism Clinic. As a developmental psychologist specializing in developmental disabilities, she has worked with families of children with autism for the past 25 years. She has closely studied early diagnosis for autism, diagnostic methods, and the effect of autism on the family. Her books include The World of the Autistic Child: Understanding and Treating Autistic Spectrum Disorders and What About Me?: Siblings of Developmentally Disabled Children. She lectures frequently to parents and professionals, comparing and contrasting treatments for autism and focusing on how to design and tailor treatment programs for the individual child.