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By Maureen Aarons;Tessa Gittens

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Additional resources for Autism: A Social Skills Approach for Children and Adolescents

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Children with autism have problems with all forms of communication. In terms of spoken language, this may range from a complete absence of or interest in communicating to subtle difficulties affecting the use of language. Because children with autism will often produce quite sophisticated utterances with complex syntax, incorrect assumptions are made about their understanding of language. Research has indicated that children with autism do not acquire language in the normal way, via a gradually expanding system of categories and rules (Roberts, 1989).

We have personal acquaintance with academically gifted adults with autism, who describe lives fraught with difficulties and unhappiness, and for whom a diagosis, although made when they were in their twenties, brought feelings of considerable relief. There are two uses for assessment: one is for diagnostic purposes and the other as a starting point for intervention. Intervention can apply to both teaching and therapy, and there is no necessity to draw distinctions between one and the other. Some users of this book may be working with children who have received a formal diagnosis of autism, while others may suspect its presence in children with a range of different diagnostic labels, some of which we referred to in the Introduction.

Ultimately, the majority of parents subscribe to approaches that make sense, rather than those based on wishful thinking. It was the work of Wendy Rinaldi (1992, 1994) which drew our attention to the relevance of social skills training for children with autism. She developed her Social Use of Language Programme with other client groups in mind, without being aware of its applicability to children whose fundamental disability was social impairment. For this we owe her a real debt, as it enabled us to develop a better understanding of the needs of these children and the ways in which we could intervene to enhance their social functioning.

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Autism: A Social Skills Approach for Children and Adolescents by Maureen Aarons;Tessa Gittens

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