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An Early Start for Your Child with Autism


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Table of Contents

Introduction I. Getting Started 1. Setting Up Your Child's Early Intervention Program 2. Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family 3. How Your Early Efforts Can Help Your Child Engage with Others and Boost Your Child's Learning II. Everyday Strategies to Help Your Child Engage, Communicate, and Learn 4. Step into the Spotlight: Capturing Your Child's Attention 5. Find the Smile!: Having Fun with Sensory Social Routines 6. It Takes Two to Tango: Building Back-and-Forth Interactions 7. Talking Bodies: The Importance of Nonverbal Communication 8. “Do What I Do!”: Helping Your Child Learn by Imitating 9. Let's Get Technical: How Children Learn 10. The Joint Attention Triangle: Sharing Interests with Others 11. It's Playtime! 12. Let's Pretend! 13. Moving into Speech 14. Putting It All Together Appendix. Toys and Books for Your Young Child with Autism Resources

About the Author

Sally J. Rogers, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry at the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis. She is a pioneering autism researcher known for her work on early intervention for preschoolers, imitation deficits, family interventions, and autism in infancy. With Geraldine Dawson and colleagues, Dr. Rogers developed the Early Start Denver Model, the treatment approach that is the basis for this book.

Geraldine Dawson, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development at Duke University. She served as Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center. An internationally recognized autism expert with a focus on early detection, intervention, and brain plasticity in autism, Dr. Dawson is a passionate advocate for families. She is coauthor of An Early Start for Your Child with Autism and A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. Laurie A. Vismara, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA, has spent her research career working closely with families with autism and contributing to the science and program development of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). She is coauthor of An Early Start for Your Child with Autism (for parents) and Coaching Parents of Young Children with Autism (for professionals). Dr. Vismara uses telehealth platforms and travels throughout the United States and internationally to help families, publicly funded programs, and universities develop ESDM in their communities.


Easy to read, highly informative, and packed with useful strategies, this is a wonderful resource for parents.--Fred R. Volkmar, MD, coauthor of A Practical Guide to AutismA remarkable achievement. Drs. Rogers, Dawson, and Vismarahave succeeded in translating the latest and best scientific evidence into practical suggestions for improving your child's social and communication skills. They write with clarity, insight, and even humor. This is a book you will prize highly.--Peter Szatmari, MD, author of A Mind Apart: Understanding Children with Autism and Asperger SyndromeI was so overwhelmed when my child was diagnosed. This book is the road map I needed, written by experts I trust.--Laura Shumaker, author, San Francisco Chronicle autism blog

Parents are going to love this book! It translates the important work of the Early Start Denver Model into strategies that can be implemented at home. The book shows how parents everywhere can give their children with autism spectrum disorders the support they need to learn to communicate and play.--Ilene Schwartz, PhD, Director, Haring Center for Applied Research and Training in Education, University of Washington, and coauthor of Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs-Skills are taught in the context of everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, and mealtimes, which does not add any extra burden to a family's daily routine….The book is extremely well-organized, well-written, and easy to read which allows for a broad audience of parents and professionals alike….This book does an excellent job providing tangible strategies to add hopefulness in the reader. Throughout the book, emphasis is provided using italicized, bolded, and bulleted points. The book is organized with clear headings, step-by-step activities, activity checklists, examples/anecdotes about children and their families, and handouts (e.g., Refrigerator Lists, Activity Logs)….The ease of use is remarkable and makes this book a resource that caregivers can easily refer back to throughout a child's early development….An Early Start for Your Child with Autism is an ideal resource for parents of children first receiving a diagnosis of ASD, but also an excellent resource for parents of children already receiving services. The layout of the book is well thought out and each chapter clearly builds on the next. The book is extremely well-organized and can be used in an 'à la carte' manner for caregivers who may have already learned certain skills covered in earlier chapters. The book is priced extremely competitively….The authors do an excellent job integrating research and theory with practical skills-based strategies….Overall, this is a well-written and extremely relevant resource, which every caregiver of a young child with autism would benefit from regardless of the child's level of functioning or current skill set.--Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 8/4/2014ƒƒ[The authors] present a program that can help parents of children with autism begin therapy at home, even without a professional therapist. Techniques are presented clearly, along with examples of activities that can be incorporated into everyday home life with the aim of achieving goals like improving communication skills or promoting play with other children....This is a valuable tool for parents of children with ASD who want to maximize learning in the home.--Library Journal, 5/21/2012

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