The precise relationship between high-functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome is still a subject of debate. This volume provides a general overview of the disorder and present diverse opinions on diagnosis and assessment, neuropsychological issues, treatment, and related conditions. A special section features personal essays by individuals diagnosed with autism or Asperger Syndrome. The result is a comprehensive and useful survey of the current state of the field that will be of great interest to clinicians, teachers, researchers, and parents.
An important component of Division TEACCH's mandate from the Department of Psychiatry of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the North Carolina State Legislature is to conduct research aimed toward improving the understanding of developmental disabilities such as autism and to train the professionals who will be needed to work with this challenging population. An important mechanism to help meet these goals is our annual conference on topics of special importance for the understanding and treatment of autism and related disorders. As with the preceding books in this series entitled Current Issues in Autism, this most recent volume is based on one of these conferences. The books are not, however, simply published proceedings of conference papers. Instead, cer tain conference participants were asked to develop chapters around their pres entations, and other national and intemational experts whose work is beyond the scope of the conference but related to the conference theme were asked to contribute manuscripts as weil. These volumes are intended to provide the most current knowledge and professional practice available to us at this time.
The state of North Carolina has had a longstanding concern and com mitment to the understanding and treatment of autistic, communications handicapped children and their families. This commitment found expres sion in the only comprehensive statewide program for families confronted with this disability, Division for the Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped CHildren (Division TEACCH). Our program staff has been privileged to respond to this commitment by developing and providing the needed services, and to engage in research informed by our clinical experience. Although many of the problems con cerning these developmentally disabled children remain to be solved, substantial progress has been made during this past decade of collabo ration among professionals, parents, and their government representa tives. The TEACCH staff has resolved to mark the effectiveness of this collaboration by holding a series of annual conferences focused on the several major issues confronting these children and their families. The conferences are held in order to bring together the best research knowl edge available to us from throughout the country, and to encourage par ticipation by the different professional disciplines and concerned parents. In addition these annual meetings form the basis for a series of books based on the conference theme. These books are, however, not merely the published proceedings of the presented papers: some chapters are expanded from conference presentations and many others were solicited from experts in the related areas of research and their service application.
As the oldest statewide program serving autistic people in the United States, North Carolina's Division TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped CHildren) has had a major impact on ser vices for these people and their families. As we move into our second decade, we are frequently questioned about all aspects of our procedures, techniques, and program. Of all the questions that are asked, however, the one that comes up most frequently and seems to set our program apart from others concerns the ways in which we work with families. To help answer this question we identified what we have found to be the major components in our parent-professional relationships, and we elaborate on these with the most current research informa tion, clinical insights, and community knowledge available through the expertise of our distinguished contributors. Our purpose was to collect the most recent information and to organize the resulting volume along the outlines of the par ent-professional relationship found most important in the TEACCH program. Thus, the four main sections of the book include these four major ways profes sionals work with parents: as their advocates, their trainers, their trainees, and their reciprocal emotional support source. To the extent this effort was success ful, we acknowledge that it is easier to organize book chapters along these dimensions than it is to provide their implementation in the field.
The North Carolina State Legislature's mandate to Division TEACCH has three major components. First, to provide the most up-to-date and cost effective services possible for families with autistic or similar language impaired children; second, to conduct research aimed toward the better under standing of such devastating disorders; and third, to provide training for the professionals needed to pursue these goals. One element in achieving these aims is to hold annual conferences on topics of special importance to the under standing and treatment of autism and similar disorders. In addition to training professionals and parents on the most recent de velopments in each conference topic, we are publishing a series, Current Issues in Autism, based on these conferences. These books are not, however, simply the published proceedings of the conference papers. Instead, some chapters are expanded conference presentations, whereas others come from national and in ternational experts whose work is beyond the scope of the conference, but es sential in our attempt at comprehensive coverage of the conference theme. These volumes are intended to provide the most current knowledge and profes sional practice available to us at the time.
This volume, like the other eight in the Current Issues in Autism series, grew from our annual TEACCH conference. The book is not, however, simply a compilation of conference proceedings. Instead, selected con ference participants whose work has already achieved national and inter national recognition were asked to develop chapters around their pre sentations. Other recognized experts in areas relevant to the conference theme were also asked to contribute chapters. Although we were not able to include all of the workers who have contributed to the theme, this volume represents our best effort to pull together for our readers the most current knowledge and state of the art practices. Although aspects of cognition, learning, and behavioral motivation have been touched on for relevance to autism in other books in this series, the growing integration of behavioral and cognitive theories has greatly enriched our educational interventions on behalf of autism. While this volume does not include all the fascinating facets of this recent integration, we believe that it offers useful information to teachers, parents, and re searchers on some of the progress produced by their interaction.
his book is the result of more than 30 years of experience and hard, T resourceful work by Eric Schopler and his team-first as lonely pioneers, now as leaders whose influence extends as far as Kuwait, India, and Japan. It is the fruit of a concept so simple, human, and obvious that it is hard to believe that not so long ago it was both revolutionary and controversial. Parents of children in mid-adulthood well remember what it was like to be considered the cause of their children's problems, rather than part of whatever solutions could be achieved. In 1971, when Eric Schopler described us as our children's "cotherapists" in the Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, it validated and strengthened the efforts we had already been making. When Division TEACCH began to develop new methods to help autistic children and-this is what was revolutionary-actually to teach them to parents, we could begin to heal. So what seems, and should seem, ordinary and matter-of-fact about this book-that it is a collection of ingenious solutions that parents have developed as responses to the continual challenges of living with autism-feels to me more like a miracle. It is not only that its nine chapters provide ingenious suggestions for dealing with the difficulties that arise in every aspect of daily life with an autistic person. Each chapter illustrates the root principle of Division TEACCH: collaboration between parents and professionals.
Division TEACCH, a statewide program in North Carolina, serves people with autism and their families through the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. TEACCH was one of the first, and remains one of the most comprehensive and effective, programs in the world working with this population. Over the years the puzzling and unusual behavior problems these children present have been among the most interesting and challenging of the enigmas parents and professionals confront. This book is designed to provide information on these behaviors that will be relevant and useful. As with the preceding books in our series, Current Issues in Autism, this volume is based in part on one of the annual TEACCH Conferences held in Chapel Hill in May. The books are not simply published proceedings of the conference papers. Instead, conference participants are asked to develop full-length chapters around their presentations. Other international experts, whose work is beyond the scope of each conference but related to its major theme, are asked to contribute chapters as well. These volumes provide the most up-to-date information on research and professional practice available on the most important issues in autism.
Drawing on the TEACCH program's twenty years of experience in clinical services, education, and research, this volume synthesizes some of the most important theory and data related to the early identification and intervention in autism and related disorders. Chapters addressing clinical aspects, parental concerns, and legal issues will be useful in helping professionals understand and implement state-of-the-art services for young children and their families.