Getting Started: Developing Critical Learning Skills for Children on the Autism Spectrum
Getting Started: Developing Critical Learning Skills for Children on the Autism Spectrum is written in nontechnical terms for parents and educators to learn how to teach a nonverbal child, or one with minimal verbal skills to ask for items he wants, imitate actions and vocalizations, attend to his actions with objects, and to initiate social interactions. It provides the tools and necessary guidance such that they can help the child make the best possible progress in their skill development.
This book is a “must have” for every parent or educator of a child who has no—or very limited—language skills. It provides evidence-based ABA/VB methodology, written in non-technical and easy to understand terms. It provides critical information on where to start and how to teach initial skills to children with minimal language skills. It provides the rationale for teaching six critical learning skills and the procedures necessary to develop them. Professionals have identified these skills as an important basic foundation for a child’s overall development.
Step-by-step instructions allow a parent or teacher to implement training and track the child’s acquisition of these important skills. All of the strategies in this book are linked to the skills in the ABLLS-R®. In addition, it provides the reader with strategies to motivate the child to participate in those learning activities as well as identify appropriate goals.
Six Critical Skills to teach a child:
⋆ Initiate social interactions
⋆ Request items and activities (Mand)
⋆ Respond to spoken words
⋆ Imitate motor actions
⋆ Imitate sounds and words (Echoic)
⋆ Complete visual tasks
Dr. Partington’s book, Getting Started, is hands down my “go to-must buy” recommendation for parents and teachers who are working with children on the autism spectrum with language delays. As an autism coordinator for a very large, and mostly rural region, I work in a variety of school and home settings to provide support for those taking on the often daunting task of helping their child on the spectrum learn to verbally communicate. I adore this book for several reasons. It is very easy to understand and doesn’t bog you down with complicated terminology common to many specialized training resources. The sections are broken down in to short, easy to follow guidelines for how to work with children using researched based techniques to teach language. Not only does it clearly explain how to implement learning activities, but how to work through situations when the “ideal” doesn’t work right away. Finally, it takes you through the more subtle skills that other instructional books leave out that are vital to success. Simply put, it empowers any person to not just be a better “teacher of skills” but for children with Autism to learn how to share their lives with others through the gift of language.
Kelly Anne, School Psychologist from Nebraska
This book, Getting Started is a must have for practitioners, teachers, parents, para educators, and anyone interesting in developing critical early learning skills for children with Autism or other neurological disorders. I was a Para Educator, Special Education teacher and now I currently work as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and I recognize the challenge of developing critical early learning targets that are effective for children impacted with autism. I highly recommend this read for ANYONE in the field of helping children with autism grow. This book is written in such a way that illuminates technical concepts but can be understood by families, teachers, and the lay person interested in helping children develop key social interaction and early learning skills. Skills and strategies such as mand training (requests), building receptive language repertoires, developing visual performing skills, response-shaping and other critical targets are identified and discussed in easily understood language while using examples of learning opportunities and teachable moments that we all encounter with children daily. There are endless moments that we can teach our children in the natural environment in a way that is fun, builds social relationships, and encourages social interaction. This book teaches how to find and recognize these moments as they are occurring. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, I know your kiddos will!!!
Troy, BCBA from Washington
I read Getting Started from start to finish and I couldn't put it down. The best part of the book were the little stories of the children with ASD, their learning styles, and solutions on how to provide the best therapy. I related to so many of these stories as if the child I was reading about was my own. I also loved the fact that the book is an easy read and well documented. I am a big fan of Dr. James Partington's work, and have used all of his great research and programs in my son's daily therapy. We started when he was four and at eleven he has gained so many skills. I highly recommend this book to teachers, therapists and parents. You won't be disappointed.