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Targeting Autism: What We Know, Don't Know, and Can Do to Help Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 3
Pages: 258
  • Book Info
    Targeting Autism
    Book Description:

    Targeting Autismreaches out to everyone who lives with or cares about a young child with autism. First published in 1998 and updated in 2002, author Shirley Cohen has recast this best seller throughout to chart the dynamics of the autism world in the first years of the twenty-first century. In this expanded edition she provides specifics about the new developments that have modified the map of the world of autism or that may do so in the near future.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93301-9
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Prologue to the Third Edition
    (pp. xi-xii)

    Targeting Autismpresents a comprehensive first excursion into the world of autism. The original edition of this book was written in 1996 and early 1997. An updated edition was published in 2002. Although much has remained the same, significant developments have taken place since then. A few of the changes have had immediate impact upon the lives of young children with autism and their families. Other events had no direct effect immediately but are nonetheless exciting because of their potential for improving lives in the future. This third edition ofTargeting Autismadds the flavor and dynamics of the autism...

  5. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xiii-xvi)

    • 1 Meeting Autism
      (pp. 3-23)

      I visit the home of parents I recently met. Their five-year-old son is standing on his head on the couch. I go up to him, turn my head to the side, and say, ″Hello, Kenneth.″ ″Hello, Kenneth,″ he echoes.

      I enter a room at a hotel where an informal meeting is in progress. As soon as I step through the doorway, a handsome, nicely dressed young man of perhaps seventeen walks up to me and tells me his name. The following exchange then takes place:

      ″What is your name?″


      ″What is your sister′s name?″

      ″Which sister?″

      ″How many sisters...

    • 2 Having Autism
      (pp. 24-40)

      A highly articulate cum laude graduate of one of the most prestigious universities, who was diagnosed as autistic in childhood, had been speaking to his audience for about twenty minutes. ″I grew up on the fringes of typical society,″ he told us. ″I always thought I was weird and strange. . . . Many of us wind up on the fringes of society. Even those of us with college degrees are unemployed or underemployed. . . .

      ″We, whose labels were dropped, are just becoming aware of ourselves,″ he continued. ″There aren′t many of us. . . . Some of...

    • 3 Life Cycles
      (pp. 41-77)

      What can I expect for my child′s future? parents ask—or fear to ask but are told anyway. Frequently, the forecast includes continued significant impairment, multiple problems, separateness from nondisabled peers, and perhaps lifelong special service needs. This picture is sometimes what the future holds for children with autism disorder, but not always; and such a future looms before autistic children much less often today than it did ten or fifteen years ago. No single pattern of development and adult outcome characterizes the autistic condition. There are many possible patterns, and many factors—some controllable, some not—shape those patterns....

    • 4 Families
      (pp. 78-90)

      What is often stolen away by autism is the joy of being a child and the joy of being a parent—the ″goodies″ that come with having a child, is the way one parent put it. What is lost too is a sense of unlimited potential.

      After I reread these statements and the rest of this chapter as I had written it in 1996 and 1997 for the first edition ofTargeting Autism, I thought to myself, ″No, this is not right!″ This was the bleak world of autism for families then, in the 1970s, the 1980s, and the early...


    • 5 We Have a Dream
      (pp. 93-102)

      One evening in April 1995, I caught a train to Westchester so that I could be at a conference on autism early the next morning. It was after 9 p. m. when I arrived at Rye, New York. Only one adult left the train, an African American woman carrying a large duffel bag and a boy of about five. When I entered the motel van that arrived a few minutes later, two well-dressed women were already in it. They were talking about their children′s treatment programs of six to seven hours a day, whether to leave therapists alone with their...

      (pp. 103-140)

      Autism can be an implacable foe, as anyone who has struggled against it knows. What makes the battle particularly grueling is that the contours of this foe are shadowy; it takes on different shapes with different children and within the same child at different ages. And this foe holds children in a vise-like grip. To wage a successful battle against such an adversary takes fierce determination, and for many children the struggle has no end. Moreover, the battle cannot be waged by professionals alone or parents alone. It takes the combined efforts of a dedicated family, skilled professionals, and a...

    • 7 Whatever Happened to Equal Opportunity?
      (pp. 141-155)

      In the mid to late 1990s, in-home programs began springing up all over the country for preschoolers diagnosed with autism. Most of these programs were derived from the UCLA Young Autism Project model. After hearing about the ″47 percent recovery rate″ reported by Lovaas, parents began rejecting the preschool special education programs that school districts offered; or they accepted these programs initially but wanted to change to an in-home Lovaas-based model when their children showed little or no obvious improvement after a few months in special education. These parents were so determined not to allow anything to interfere with their...

    • 8 Some Thoughts on Alternative Treatments and Other Intervention Controversies
      (pp. 156-174)

      Because most children with autism don′t ″recover″ or achieve near-normal functioning, and because many children with autism struggle for years against formidable challenges to their understanding and happiness, parents and professionals continue to search for better answers. The search for a cure for autism is over fifty years old, but this search has taken on powerful allies and major resources only since the late 1990s. False starts and detours have marked the way, along with optimism and ″miraculous cures″ that turned out to be less than miraculous and less than a cure.

      Perhaps the most damaging detour was the belief...


    • 9 Recovery?
      (pp. 177-191)

      I was amazed and elated over this encounter. I remembered Victor as he was when he entered my class after five years of treatment. He had an excellent memory and a large store of information, but his thinking was concrete and rigid, and any unanticipated event could throw him into a frenzy. For a year we worked on abstracting and generalizing, adapting and coping, self-monitoring and self-control. I felt cautiously optimistic that he would succeed in his regular education class, which contained only eight students because the school had just opened, but never did I anticipate that someday he would...

    • 10 Moving toward Better Answers
      (pp. 192-208)

      More than forty years have passed since I was a teacher of Nellie, Sean, and other children with autism. If these children had been born after 1995 instead of before 1965, could I or others have helped them more? Could they have more easily come to understand the world around them and learned better ways to communicate their needs and ideas to others? Could Nellie′s hand biting have been avoided? Could Sean have reached a point where head banging was only a thing of the past? Could they have gone to schools and been in classes with other children from...

  9. APPENDIX A: Diagnostic Criteria for Autistic Disorder
    (pp. 209-210)
  10. APPENDIX B: Diagnostic Criteria for Asperger’s Disorder
    (pp. 211-212)
  11. APPENDIX C: Resources
    (pp. 213-216)
  12. References
    (pp. 217-228)
  13. Index
    (pp. 229-241)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 242-242)