FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Helping Children with Autism
Learn: A Guide to Treatment Approaches For Parents and Professionals
Bryna Siegel, Ph.D.
Published by Oxford
June 2003; $30.00US; 0-19-513811-2
Bryna Siegel gives
parents of autistic children what they need most: hope. Her first book,
The World of the Autistic Child,
became an instant classic, illuminating the inaccessible minds of afflicted
Now she offers an equally insightful, thoroughly practical guide to treating the
learning disabilities associated with this heartbreaking disorder.
The trouble with treating autism, Siegel writes, is that it is a spectrum
disorder -- a.orgbination of a number of symptoms and causes. To one
extent or another, it robs the child of social bonds, language, and
intimacy -- but the extent varies dramatically in each case. The key is to
understand each case of autism as a discrete set of learning disabilities,
each of which must be treated individually. Siegel explains how to take an
inventory of a child's particular disabilities, breaks down the various
kinds unique to autism, discusses our current knowledge about each, and
reviews the existing strategies for treating them. There is no simple cure
for this multifarious disorder, she writes; instead, an individual
program, with a unique array of specific treatments, must be constructed
for each child. She gives practical guidance for fashioning such a
program, empowering parents to take the lead in their child's treatment.
At the same time, she cautions against the proliferating, but
questionable, treatments hawked to afflicted families. She knows the panic
to do something, anything, to help an autistic child, and she offers
parents reassurance and support as well as sensible advice,.orgbining
knowledge from experience, theory, and research.
For parents, autism in a child is heartbreaking. But it need not be
overwhelming. Bryna Siegel offers a new understanding, and a practical,
thoughtful approach, that will give parents new hope.
is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco
and Director of its Autism Clinic. As a developmental psychologist
specializing in developmental disabilities, she has worked with families
of children with autism for the past 25 years. She has closely studied
early diagnosis for autism, diagnostic methods, and the effect of autism
on the family. Her books include The
World of the Autistic Child: Understanding and Treating Autistic Spectrum
Disorders (OUP, 1996) and
What About Me?: Siblings of Developmentally Disabled Children.
She lectures frequently to parents and professionals,.orgparing and
contrasting treatments for autism and focusing on how to design and tailor
treatment programs for the individual child.