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Social & Communication Development in ASD

Social & Communication Development in ASD
    Code: BSOC09
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    ©2006. Edited by Tony Charman and Wendy Stone. This exceptionally well-written and well-researched book is intended to offer professionals interested in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) a detailed overview of the latest research on ASD from a variety of perspectives. The chapters are divided into four main sections: Assessment and Diagnosis; Screening and Surveillance; Evidence-Based Interventions; and Developmental and Neurobiological Issues.

    In the first section, Assessment and Diagnosis, Amy Wetherby gives an overview of what defines social communication, how these behaviors contrast in typically developing children versus children with ASD, and examines some of the diagnostic tools available. Catherine Lord and Jennifer Richler address the need for early diagnosis and review many of the key issues that researchers must take into account, as well as the limitations of current diagnostic tools.

    In the second section, Screening and Surveillance, Tony Charman and Simon Baron-Cohen outline the latest population-based autism screening tools, and review the strengths and weaknesses research studies have found in each of them. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum and Wendy Stone discuss the decisions that go into picking the right screening tool for a variety of clinical settings.

    In the third section, Evidence-Based Interventions, numerous authors examine the efficacy of a variety of interventions, as examined through empirical research. Paul Yoder and Andrea McDuffie review intervention approaches intended to improve joint-attention skills; Sally Rogers looks at interventions focusing on the development of language, from behavioral, pragmatic, naturalistic, and developmental approaches; Pamela Wolfberg and Adriana Schuler address the importance of social reciprocity with peers, and offer examples of how to design a peer play intervention program; Jacqueline Nadel and Nadra Aouka examine the role of imitation, and the importance of promoting both imitating behaviors and an awareness of being imitated, to promote social interaction; and Patricia Howlin reviews numerous alternative and augmentative communication strategies, tracing a neat path through history to the present, with references to both public enthusiasm and actual empirical findings for each strategy.

    In the final section, Developmental and Neurobiological Issues, Tedra Walden and Jennifer Hurley examine the myriad influences on early social communication development, including the interaction between enviromental, genetic, and neurological factors, comparing the development of typically developing children with those with ASD. Peter Mundy and Danielle Thorp present an overview of the neuropsychological studies that have been done to understand the neural basis for social communication in children with ASD, particularly focusing on the different types of joint attention skills. Each chapter is accompanied by extensive references. (Paperback; 348 pages.)

    ©2007-2008. Autism Society of North Carolina.