30 years ago this month, my son’s autistic symptoms emerged. Having lived with autism in the family for almost 3 decades, Individualized Autism Intervention for Young Children: Blending Discrete Trial and Naturalistic Strategies, is quite simply, in my opinion, the best book yet in sorting out what we know and what we can do to alter the course of autism in young children. As an expert senior psychologist and grandparent, Travis Thompson has given us a ground breaking contribution based upon solid theory and emerging research evidence.
From the Brookes Publishing web site: “Discrete trial instruction or naturalistic, incidental teaching: How do you choose which approach to use with young children with autism? Now there's no need to ‘pick a side’—this groundbreaking book helps professionals skillfully blend the best of both behavioral approaches to respond to each child's individual needs… this guidebook cuts through the chaos of conflicting information and gives readers a logical, child-centered way to plan and implement intervention.”
I am particularly excited about the possibilities for the Autism Intervention Responsiveness Scale, Research Edition, which is included in the book. This scale gives professionals an in-depth guide to creating an autism intervention profile for each child, based on the type and severity of the child's autism characteristics. By completing the profile, readers can then match individual characteristics and needs with a specially tailored blend of discrete trial and developmentally oriented naturalistic teaching.
On the other hand, I am deeply troubled by budget cuts that threaten services vitally necessary for children with autism and their families. As Thompson notes, “Most evidence indicates that 25-30 hours per week of one-to-one intervention over the first 1-2 years is required to make significant gains in core autism symptoms for children who are responsive to this form of treatment.” (p.41)
The time is now for professionals and families to push back through our organizations and the political process for what children need and deserve to have the best life possible.
Read an interview with Doctor Thompson at http://www.brookespublishing.com/autism/authors/thompson.htm