Visual Supports for People with Autism—A Guide for Parents and Professionals
by Marlene J. Cohen, EdD, BCBA; Donna L. Sloan, MA, BCBA, Bethesda, MD, Woodbine House, 2007, 186 pp, $21.95, softcover.
Visual Supports for People with Autism provides practical strategies and resources to parents and educational professionals who teach children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the first two chapters, authors introduce definitions, conceptual background and various types of visual supports.
The following 6 chapters are organized according to specific areas of challenges in learning and behaviors. Each chapter describes how visual aides can help in supporting specific areas of learning—such as language development, memory, and sequential skills, and in modifying behaviors—such as increasing attending, motivation, and social skills. Each chapter starts by presenting a case with a behavioral challenge, then identifies the specific area of difficulty, and assesses what kind of visual aides could be helpful, followed by a story of successful intervention and outcome. Each chapter also describes how learning tasks and behaviors can be broken down into different components and includes a brief summary of general knowledge about these components. At the end of each chapter, the authors present various ideas, examples, and tools with many photographs and sample figures.
Chapter 9 discusses suggestions on weaning visual supports in practical ways. In the last chapter, authors emphasize how simple visual supports can unlock the potential of students with autism and can make a difference in their lives. The book ends with a list of references and a resource guide.
This book is a great introduction to visual supports for parents, educators, and other professionals, including pediatricians, who work with children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. It can also be helpful for children with other developmental disabilities who face challenges in learning and behavior. It is full of samples and figures you can easily adapt to fit the child’s particular needs, and be ready to try out the next day.
Mariko Nakanishi, MD
Division of Child Development and Rehabilitation
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia