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Teaching Social Skills to People with Autism

Best Practices in Individualizing Interventions
Edited by Andy Bondy, Ph.D. & Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D


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isbn# 978-1-60613-011-7
6" x 9"
180 Pages

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"This book features experts who address social skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The authors define social skills, differentiate them from language/communication skills, and discuss aspects of assessment and measurement. Further, they comment on selection of goals to target, use of effective teaching strategies parents and staff to use them, progress monitoring, and promoting generalization of social skills. Reading this information from eight overlapping but differing perspectives helps the reader to appreciate the complexity involved in teaching social skills.

This book provides a good synopsis for readers who are already familiar with practices commonly used in teaching social skills, including contextualistic behavior analysis and Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior, and the use of role play, scripts, and Social Stories™. Some authors have provided excellent but brief overviews of the concepts applied and strategies they have used, such as joint attention, pretend play, or video modeling. Most authors have reviewed the research evidence that supports their practice. Surprisingly, some of the poplar strategies such as Social Stories™ and role plays, have limited research evidence to support their use, which highlights the difficulty in reviewing the effectiveness of teaching social skills in an objective quantifiable manner.

Occupational therapists need to add aspects from our knowledge base to this discussion on social skills. For example play is discussed here purely as a social skill without consideration of the motor-planning and sensory-motor challenges or sensory-processing differences that may impact an individual with autism's ability to participate efficiently in social play. Some authors have focused on goals such as initiating 'eye contact', which may not be culturally appropriate and has been described as difficult by many individuals with autism.

Over all, this book will assist practitioners knowledgeable in the topic to evaluate available interventions for teaching social skills to individuals with autism."
-Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2014

"The Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists a deficit in social skills as one of the major markers for autism. But what exactly are social skills? More than the exchange of conversation, these interactions encompass the ability to correctly maintain interpersonal space; interpret facial expression, mood, and tone of voice; and manifest appropriate body and verbal language. Behavioral analyst Bondy (codeveloper, Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc.) and Weiss (coauthor, Reaching Out, Joining In: Teaching Social Skills to Young Children with Autism) have compiled a well-developed collection of writing on recent advancements in social skills teaching methodology that attempts to provide a firm grounding in strategies with evidence-based research on the discussed methods. VERDICT Providing material difficult to come by, this book is designed for use by frontline teaching staff and is a worthy resource for parents and field practitioners."
-Library Journal

"Sometimes the ability to connect with others must be developed through specific exercises. When autistic children engage in play therapy, for example, their verbal and social skills improve dramatically. Teaching Social Skills to People with Autism, edited by Andy Bondy, PhD, and Mary Jane Weiss, PhD, offers a thorough review of recent, often hopeful literature on issues like measuring social skill performance, motivational strategies, choosing the right therapies for a child's needs, and new interventions within current models (such as imitative and imaginative play). Readers will also better understand the theories and practices of autism therapists, and parents of autistic children will be better prepared to engage in conversations with autism therapists about possible treatments for their child.

The book is best suited for autism professionals who are aware of current models but who may need more information on effective appraches within existing programs. There are also applications for teachers who work with autistic children in integrated classroom settings.

Ideally, these methods will help children transfer what they have learned to a variety of social environments, and these interventions will make the autism diagnosis less defining of a child's life chances."
-ForeWord Magazine

"Teaching Social Skills to People with Autism is a compendium of current approaches in teaching social skills to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

[It] is primarily geared toward ABA therapists and teachers. Parents would need background knowledge in ABA to understand the variances in treatment plans. Many of the chapters include tables and worksheets to demonstrate how to track data. Several chapters have case studies to illustrate the challenges and progress experienced by families living with ASD. The layout is user-friendly, especially considering the density of information. A recommended addition for library collections serving educators and health care practitioners."
-CAPHIS Consumer Connections

"A well-organized, comprehensive guide that is an essential addition to the understanding and development of effective social skills assessment and interventions for individuals with ASD. It is chock-full of excellent information about social skills that will be invaluable for all who live or work with individuals with ASD. It will quickly become a favorite 'go-to' resource for parents, educators, and professionals alike."
-Teresa Herrero-Taylor, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Parent of a child with ASD
Private social skills group practitioner
Adjunct Assistant Professor at Rider University
Public school Supervisor of Special Education

"Educators, clinicians, and parents will discover an invaluable array of social skills resources in these chapters. Readers will find detailed explanations of research-based treatment approaches, sample teaching programs, and creative programming ideas for learners who struggle with the many nuances of social interaction. This book fills a wide gap in the available resources on social skills training for individuals with autism and will help readers to teach these skills in meaningful and effective ways."
-Suzanne Buchanan, Psy.D., BCBA-D, Autism New Jersey

"Children and even adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) classically exhibit impaired social skills. Yet these can to an extent be taught, and this volume looks at a variety of strategies for doing so, from Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) to new uses of video modeling. Parents of autistic children also need guidance, and a chapter describing the work done through the Sunny Starts program goes a long way toward providing this. Edited by Bondy (behavioral analyst, Pyramid Educational Consultants) and Weiss (education, Endicott College), the contributors hold either academic positions or are employed by organizations such as the Alpine Learning Group."
-Annotation ©2013 Book News Inc. Portland, OR

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