Friday, November 9, 2012

Social Skills and Adaptive Behavior in Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Brookes Publishing sent me a review copy of Social Skills and Adaptive Behavior in Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Peter F Gerhardt and Daniel Cummings. (Web site info here.) The book is a compilation of research that may or may not be helpful in determining an intervention pathway for a particular child.  It is a 308 page paperback featuring multiple authors on a wide variety of topics that fall within the umbrellas of social skills and adaptive behavior.

Behaviorists and medical types, I predict, will *love*  it.  Behaviorists and medical types love anything that has a completed scientific study behind it, and this book is full of research.  Any intervention that is in the process of gathering research as it applies to autism is labeled "pseudoscientific".

The danger in a book like this one is that parents and professionals stick with approaches "proven" by science while refusing to consider what this book calls "pseudoscience" and those parents and professionals risk what we experienced, a behavioral program that was considered successful by the fact that my child learned everything we taught her, except we taught her out of developmental sequence and created a long list of bizarre splinter skills that translated into NON-success in a traditional classroom.  We are still unraveling some of the damage we did by well-meaning behaviorists who understood the "science" but did not understand development.

If you want to see what research is and is not available, here's your book.  Personally, I would not spend $35 on it. I wasted too much valuable time and money on interventions "backed by science" and did not get in return what was promised. I got prompt-dependent and robotic, lots of words without comprehension or conversation.  Mom-to-mom, read this information with a grain of salt.  Absence of proof is not absolute proof.

The value in the book for me is on page 293, at the very end, where the discussion turns to the fact that "The research in this volume demonstrates that we have made significant gains along several dimensions and are moving in a number of positive directions:" that include a shift to a focus on social competence and the role of joint attention in the social piece and cites the need for more research.

Brookes Publishing sent me this book free of charge to review for you here. I am not paid for reviews and am not obligated to provide a positive review. RE: Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 

1 comment:

walking said...

I dedicate this link to all the people who do not believe in what they call pseudoscience! When people used to ask me why I was doing the gf/cf diet and treating yeast for autism, I told them I wasn't going to wait twenty years for the research to catch up. Today's mouse model (check out the second segment) is tomorrow's answer for some.

Some pseudoscience is tomorrow's scientific fact!

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