Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism 2010-2011 by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons

Keeping up with the latest in autism intervention is a full time job for a parent. Our local ASA chapter used to hold a weekend-long biomedical conference once a year, which helped us to stay current. Now, we have to travel to Autism One, an AMAB conference or a DAN! conference to hear the latest and greatest, or rely on audio recordings after the fact.

I remember a year or so ago, our DAN! doctor asked me if I'd considered biofilm. I, the autism mom who keeps up with all things autism, did not know about biofilm. Talk about feeling behind!

How is a mom to keep up? There are too many interventions to read about, research and consider. And not just biomedical puzzle pieces, but sensory, educational, developmental puzzle pieces, too. I know we have more puzzle pieces to find at our house, but keeping up with the latest information on puzzle pieces is time consuming. There are as many or more puzzle pieces that are not for us - how do find out about them all and how do I sort through them all, particularly the new ones?

Late one Friday afternoon, I arrived from my son's baseball game to see a package on the front porch, and one of the books inside is this gem: Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism 2010-2011 by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons. It is priced at $17.95.

It's sort of like a magazine and an almanac and an encyclopedia and a Clif notes all wrapped up together in a hefty 511 page paperback book that introduces readers to almost all things autism. Siri and Lyons have compiled articles by the professionals with experience in the trenches, and I recognize many of the names because I've seen them present in person. Peek here to see a list of some of the authors and topics inside. The book covers developmental issues, sensory issues, educational strategies, biomedical treatments, alternative/complimentary medicine treatments, and much more.

The behaviors that add up to what we label "autism" have different roots in different individuals. My child seems to have a viral component. Her "autism" worsens with illness. There's an allergy component. There's a heavy metal component. She has components, or puzzle pieces, that other children don't have, and other children have components, contributors to the "autism" that my daughter doesn't have.

Parents of children on the autism spectrum have to wade through ALL of the information with their doctors to find the pieces relevent to each individual child.

This book is a really nice resource for helping us begin to wade through information. I consider it a starting point for research on one of the topics inside. Does it mention everything? No. It's still an excellent resource - just know it is missing some topics that I consider important.

I don't think any book could include every intervention or therapy because the book would be too big. This one covers a LOT of intervention material. What's it missing? I can tell you that I don't see Dr James MacDonald and Communicating Partners inside, although other developmental therapies are included (RDI; Son Rise; DIR; HANDLE), and I don't see Miller Method; or any of the work being done with The Importance of Reflexes in Developmental Delays by Sally Goddard - and as I dig deeper into developmental approaches, those are important in my opinion. April Choulat is doing an incredible amount of work and study in the area of developmental approaches; she'd be an excellent choice for a contributor to a book like this one. I'd like to see a chapter on Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment. Dr Feuerstein himself might write a chapter. I'd like to see information on LDA immunotherapy. Dr. Wycoff in Michigan is seeing success with this treatment for allergies. I'm researching that right now. And I don't see a chapter on defining, diagnosing, and treating PANDAS, although I see it mentioned in at least one chapter.

The lack of an index keeps me from being able to reference subjects from the back of the book, which is an annoyance to me (the index is one of my favorite parts of a book like this one).

I am a borrow-the-book-from-the-library-first-before-deciding-to-buy-kind-of-girl. Honestly, seeing the book as I tore into the package, I'm pretty sure that this is a book that I would have gotten from the library, even going to the trouble to get it through interlibrary loan if my library didn't own a copy, and realized immediately that I needed to purchase it for myself so that I could read and reread sections of it and mark up with a highlighter and some sticky notes. It's a book to take with me to waiting rooms (or on an airplane, if you travel a lot). The chapters are brief, yet the book is jam-packed with information about almost all things autism.

As we uncover new layers, this is one of the books I'll pick up again and again, as I seek out a next step, or series of next steps.

I have a feeling I'll have a few new puzzle pieces to research in greater detail as I finish this book, puzzle pieces to ask our DAN! doctor about, and maybe a trip to a DAN! conference because of it, as we continue to seek and play our daughter's puzzle pieces.

I would appreciate the addition of an index on-line so that I could reference topics that way. I also have some suggestions for material for the next edition.

Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism 2010-2011 is an excellent book to have as one resource for families who have a member with an autism diagnosis.

Skyhorse Publishing sent me a copy of Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism 2010-2011 by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons to review on this blog. I am not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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