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Helping Children with Autism Become More Social


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"Ann Densmore has some great new ideas for taking therapy out of the therapy room and bringing it into the real world. Families of children with autism or Asperger's interested in a play based therapy approach will find this book full of innovative strategies for working with their kids in more natural environments." -- Suzanne Wright, Co-founder, Autism Speaks "Unfortunately, a diagnosis of autism is given to children with very different causes of their symptoms; hence, this word does not represent one disease. This book will be welcomed by those parents of children called autistic who can be helped in a major way by the wise, compassionate therapeutic practices Ann Densmore clearly describes." -- Jerome Kagan, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Harvard University "Ann Densmore has created an intelligent, articulate work about the elements of play therapy as they pertain to autistic children. In fact, this work is much more. It updates Virginia Axline's classic book on play therapy to encompass the broader therapeutic field of work with children, and include ideas about speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, family and sibling work, all to focus on an intensive psychotherapeutic play therapy approach in work with the most challenging children in our caseload: helping children with a range of autistic spectrum disorders beat the odds. Ann's how to approach will give many psychotherapists tools to help these challenging children in a way that few others have written about. This is an important book." -- Bruce Hauptman, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Community Therapeutic Day School, Massachusetts "This book reflects a set of user friendly step by step strategies and rich examples, for helping children on the autism spectrum develop increased communication skills with adults and peers. The principal of using natural contexts, such as playgrounds, farms, and backyards, and incorporation of siblings and peers, clearly maximizes generalization, and encourages professionals to think outside of the office. While the strategies are explained in a clear, easy to follow style, that is accessible to parents and therapists alike, they are built on an elegant, sophisticated, seamless integration of emotional, social, communication and play development, encompassing the whole child." -- Karen Levine, Ph.D., Psychologist, Instructor, Harvard Medical School, Clinical Director, Autism and Developmental Disabilities Program "Dr. Ann Densmore has captured her narrative play therapy intervention in careful and loving detail-a true legacy for parents, teachers and therapists, but mostly for the children who have so inspired her. This is a work of both the mind and heart. Although Dr. Densmore paints a visual picture to give a sense of place and technique through her artful narrative descriptions, she never lets the reader forget that her approach is grounded in real life with real children. She provides the history and theory behind narrative play therapy, walks readers through the strategies that make up each phase of proficiency, and shares vivid stories that demonstrate how she has used narrative play therapy in practice to benefit many children and families over many years, so that many more may continue to benefit in the future." -- Elaine M. Gabovitch, Disability & Family Policy Consultant, University of Massachusetts Medical School/E. K. Shriver University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) "Ann Densmore is the best. Her enthusiasm, hard work, and caring manner is evident throughout her writings and presentations. I highly recommend her book as well as recommend that if you have a school or agency that works with special needs children...get her to address your group NOW!" -- Judy Reiner Platt, Ed.D., Director, Continuing Education, Harvard Medical School /Cambridge Health Alliance "I have just finished reading Ann Densmore's new book Helping Children with Autism Become More Social. It is superb and is the first book I have seen since the publication of Cathy Lord's 2001 book Educating Children with Autism that is a must read for working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Beautifully written case-based material, with many practical ways to use narrative play to foster language development. Excellent appendices with recommendations for managing recess, sibling play, and more. This is great parent reading as well." -- Janice Ware, Ph.D., Associate Director, Developmental Medicine Center Children's Hospital, Boston, MA. "Ann Densmore has written a sympathetic and practical guide to nurturing communication skills of autistic children. Her step by step instructions for using children's own interests as a basis for therapeutic intervention are creative and accessible. Densmore offers parents not only tools for helping their children learn and but also hope for keeping themselves going forward." -- Debra Shapiro, Senior Producer, CHRONICLE, WCVB-TV, Boston "As a veteran teacher who has spent limited time with children on the spectrum, I was really impressed with the way Ms. Densmore demystified some of the language and techniques. Her strategies are matter-of-fact and easy to use and have benefits for many, many young children, not just those with an autism diagnosis. I was also really moved by the case studies--some are truly tear jerkers. I commend Ms. Densmore on her work!" -- Lori Davis, Lead Teacher, Morning PS/Pre-K and Faculty Advisor The Tobin School, Natick, MA

About the Author

Ann E. Densmore has been a Speech and Language Consultant at private and public schools for more than 30 years. She has also served as a consultant internationally, helping children with autism, and has taught graduate seminars for professionals and students at Harvard Medical School, and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Densmore holds an Ed.D in Education with a specialization in child discourse from Clark University. She is board-certified in speech and language pathology and audiology.


"Individuals with developmental disabilities are finally starting to receive the public and professional attention they need and deserve. And new and better therapies are being devised that address one of their biggest deficits--social skills. Densmore adds her approach, outlining a play-therapy technique she has developed over 30 years of practice. This technique joins a growing body of related therapies, including Stanley Greenspan's trademarked Floortime; Barry Prizant's social communication, emotional regulation, and transactional support model (SCERTS); Steven Gutstein's Relationship Developmental Intervention; and Carol Gray's Social Stories (also trademarked). Densmore contrasts her model with structured, research-based models (e.g., applied behavioral analysis), arguing that one size does not fit all children and that these methods can sometimes work together or sequentially. This book reads like an annotated diary into the arduous and lengthy process of trying to expand and elaborate on individuals' ability to relate to others.... Recommended. Professionals and professionals in training." - Choice

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